Bayern Munich and Germany legend Philipp Lahm has criticised the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar and says that he is not planning to attend the tournament.
The Gulf state was controversially handed the tournament back in 2010 by FIFA despite human rights concerns, and the opening match is now just over three months away.
Lahm, who lifted the trophy for Germany at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, has insisted that human rights should be the most important factor to consider before a country is awarded football’s most prestigious tournament.
He has told German publication, Kicker: ‘I’m not a part of the delegation and I’m not keen on flying there as a fan,’ the ex-Bayern Munich full-back told Kicker 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 has also called on Germany’s current international stars, including captain and former team-mate Manuel Neuer, to discuss the issue during the time they are playing in Qatar.
The 38-year-old who retired in 2017, said: ‘As a player, you can’t get around it anymore.’
The country’s human rights record and treatment of migrant workers have also been widely criticised since the country was named as host back in 2010.
It was reported by the Guardian in 2021, that 6,500 migrant workers have died during Qatar’s World Cup preparations due to unsafe working conditions since they were awarded the tournament.
According to Amnesty International, Qatari “authorities continue to curtail freedom of expression using abusive laws to stifle critical voices,” while women and the LGBTQ+ community are also oppressed.
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and same-sex relationships can lead to criminal charges and a prison sentence of up to seven years.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino insisted in November that ‘all are welcome’ in the Gulf state and urged LGBTQ fans to attend and ‘engage and speak and convince’ in a bid to influence their state policies.
It was reported in May though that hotels in Qatar refused to admit same-sex couples.
According to NRK, SVT in Sweden and DR in Denmark, three hotels refused to accept the reservation, with one suggesting it would be against hotel policy to do so.
A further 20 hotels advised the couple to modify their behaviour to avoid public displays of affection during their stay, suggesting the pair ‘don’t dress gay’.
England manager Gareth Southgate has previously said it is a “great shame” that some Three Lions supporters will not travel to Qatar for the World Cup.
However, his comments were criticised Qatar 2022 chief executive Nasser Al Khater, who warned Southgate to “pick his words carefully”.
Lahm meanwhile will be watching the World Cup from home, and will be hoping Germany improve on the 2018 tournament where they crashed out at the group stage.