Kane calls for united approach in highlighting Qatar concerns

By Sports Desk March 23, 2022

England captain Harry Kane has called for a collective effort from his fellow international skippers to highlight the human rights issues in Qatar ahead of this year's World Cup.

Qatar's poor human rights record has been a concern during the build-up to the 2022 finals.

The nation's stance towards women and the LGBTQ+ community was widely raised as an issue before FIFA awarded it the tournament in 2010. 

Meanwhile, the deaths of thousands of migrant workers have been reported during preparation for the finals, although Qatar's organising committee disputed what it called "inaccurate claims" around the number of fatalities.

England manager Gareth Southgate described it as a "great shame" after learning of female and LGBTQ+ supporters who were subsequently staying away from the tournament.

Southgate led a briefing to his squad at St George’s Park on Tuesday about the issues surrounding Qatar's hosting of the finals – most notably the rights of women, the LGBTQ+ community and migrant workers.

There was also input from other FA staff members including chief executive Mark Bullingham and Edleen John, the director of international relations, corporate affairs and co-partner for equality, diversity and inclusion.

Skipper Kane mentioned his Tottenham team-mates Hugo Lloris and Son Heung-min – who captain France and South Korea respectively – as he called for a united approach and strength in numbers to drive lasting social change in the country.

Addressing the media ahead of England's friendly against Switzerland on Saturday, the striker said: "I feel as a group, we've never shied away from important issues, and we've always had our opinions and tried to show unity in anything we've done.

"That's what will happen now over this camp and the next camp to try to help in any way we can to support those issues.

"As players, we didn't choose where this World Cup was going to be. But what it has done is shine a light on important issues which might not have come to light if the World Cup wasn't there.

"We have to try to help as much as possible to understand the issues and the situations. We're no experts in that field at the moment in terms of what we know but as always, we try to help in any way we can, we try to use our platform to help in any way we can.

"I understand there has been some progress on certain issues in the country so far. What my hope is that having the World Cup there and having this light on the country will help try and progress some of the issues which have been going on for a long time.

"There's a couple of other national team captains in my team at Tottenham, maybe [I will be] talking to other national team captains to see whether we can be unified in what we try and do and approach it.

"That's something myself and some of the senior players in the team will look to try to achieve over the coming months.

"There's still a lot of progress to be made. But hopefully all of us, like we have done in the past, can try to make change with the platforms that we have."

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