Macron says politics should be kept out of sport as Qatar looms

Bangkok, Nov 17 (EFE).- French president Emmanuel Macron on Thursday said politics should be kept out of sport amid questions raised over Qatar’s hosting of the Fifa World Cup, which is due to kick off in three days.


“I don’t think sport should be made political,” the head of state told reporters in Bangkok, where he was due to attend the APEC forum.


“These kinds of questions need to be asked when the tournament is awarded,” he added.


“And whether it’s climate change or human rights, it is not necessary to ask them when the event comes,” he added.
The France national team is heading into the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as defending champions after winning football’s top prizes in Russia four years ago.


Fifa’s decision to award this year’s competition to Qatar has been fraught with controversy, prompting questions over the rich Gulf nation’s treatment of migrant workers, its human rights record and its position on the LGBT+ community.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha (R), greets French President Emmanuel Macron (L) at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, 17 November 2022. EFE/EPA/Sakchai Lalit


Teams such as Denmark and Australia have made statements on Qatar’s human rights record ahead of the tournament.


Macron’s comments on Thursday mirrored a recent statement by Fifa president Gianni Infantino, who called on the 32 participating teams to avoid football from being “dragged” into politics.


Qatar is one of France’s key allies in the Middle East region.


Through its Qatar Sports Investment fund, the gas and oil-rich nation also owns top French football club Paris Saint-Germain, home to Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi.EFE
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