Former Germany captain Philipp Lahm says he will boycott this year’s World Cup over human rights abuses by host nation Qatar.
The Gulf state was controversially awarded the tournament back in 2010 by the world football governing body and its opening match is now just over three months away, the competition having been moved from its hitherto consistent summer slot to winter owing to the searing heat of the Middle East.
Lahm was captain of the German national side when they won the in Brazil in 2014, lifting the trophy after Mario Gotze’s extra-time winner secured victory over Argentina, and now works as the German FA’s tournament director for EURO 2024.
But the 38-year-old says he has taken the personal decision that he will not travel to Qatar.
‘I’m not part of the delegation and I’m not keen on flying there as a fan,’ the ex-Bayern Munich full-back told in his homeland. ‘I prefer to follow the tournament from home.
‘Human rights should play the biggest role in the awarding of a tournament. If a country is awarded the contract that is one of the worst performers in this regard, you start to think about the criteria used to make the decision . That shouldn’t happen again in the future. Human rights, sustainability, the size of the country… none of that seems to have played a role.’
Lahm is also banking on the likes of captain Manuel Neuer openly discussing the issue during the time they are playing in Qatar, saying: ‘As a player, you can’t get around it anymore.’
Qatar has a dreadful record on human rights, and a 2021 investigation by found that 6,500 migrant workers have died working on World Cup-related infrastructure projects due to unsafe working conditions.
According to Amnesty International, Qatari ‘authorities continue to curtail freedom of expression using abusive laws to stifle critical voices,’ while women and LGBTQ+ people are severely oppressed.
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