Daily Mail

FA haven’t gone far enough to tackle evils of this World Cup

Human rights groups unimpresse­d … and England stars seem uneasy

- By SAMI MOKBEL Chief Football Reporter

THE FA have been accused of not taking a strong enough stance against the inhumanity that has overshadow­ed the build-up to the World Cup.

English football’s governing body made their long-awaited statement yesterday in relation to the human rights atrocities that have taken place in Qatar ahead of the tournament.

The FA vowed to lobby FIFA over labour protection laws after the abuse of migrant workers, and confirmed captain Harry Kane would wear a ‘One Love’ armband during the tournament, which is significan­t because homosexual­ity is illegal in Qatar.

However, the steps received a tepid reception from supporters and human rights groups — with Stonewall and Amnesty Internatio­nal indicating the FA had fallen short.

Sportsmail has also learned there is a sense among a number of senior England players that the FA have not done enough to protect them from criticism.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham defended the statement last night, insisting suggestion­s they have not been hard enough was unfair.

The FA called for any worker injury or death on constructi­on projects linked to the World Cup to be compensate­d and said they will push for a Migrant Workers’ Centre to be created in Qatar. They also vowed to meet migrant workers at their training base in Qatar.

With regard to the One Love armband, Kane will join the captains of the Netherland­s, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerlan­d and

Wales in the antidiscri­mination gesture, starting with tomorrow’s Nations League match against Italy in Milan. The ‘One Love’ campaign was originally the idea of the Dutch but has been adopted by fellow European nations. Kane said: ‘I am honoured to join my fellow captains in supporting the important One Love campaign. We may all be competing against each other but we stand together against all forms of discrimina­tion. ‘This is even more relevant at a time when division is common in society. Wearing the armband together will send a clear message when the world is watching.’ However, there was no collective statement from the players or manager Gareth Southgate (left). The latter is likely to address the issue today. Amnesty Internatio­nal welcomed the FA statement but felt they could have taken a firmer stance. Felix Jakens, from Amnesty UK, said: ‘It’s obviously welcome the FA is actively seeking to promote inclusion and anti- discrimina­tion, and it’s important this is extended to the World Cup. But the FA now needs to specifical­ly support a FIFA compensati­on fund for abused workers and the families of those who have died to make the World Cup happen.’

Liz Ward, director of programmes at Stonewall, said: ‘We must remember Qatar is a country where LGBTQ+ people are persecuted simply for being themselves. Sadly, this year’s tournament is not safe for everyone, which is why it’s so important to see Harry Kane pledging to wear an anti-discrimina­tion armband — even though the Rainbow itself is still banned.

‘The global sporting community needs to call out the criminalis­ation and persecutio­n of LGBTQ+ people in Qatar. It will take more than armbands to end discrimina­tion, but these are positive steps from the FA.’

Sources have also indicated England players feel they have been publicly criticised for issues that do not fall under their remit.

‘It’s not the players’ fault the World Cup is in Qatar, but they are the ones taking all the flak,’ said an insider. ‘If a player said he was withdrawin­g from the tournament, the FA would just replace him. They can’t win.’

Asked about the underwhelm­ing response to the FA’s statement, Bullingham said: ‘ I’m not sure I see that as fair. We think what we announced reflects the needs of what we’ve been asked to do.’

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 ?? PA ?? Endangered: a constructi­on worker at Qatar’s Lusail Stadium
PA Endangered: a constructi­on worker at Qatar’s Lusail Stadium
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