13 June 2022

England captain Harry Kane continuing talks with counterparts over Qatar stance

13 June 2022

Harry Kane is continuing to work with fellow national team captains on a collaborative approach to making a stand against human rights issues in Qatar.

Accusations over the treatment of migrant workers and a poor record of human rights have plagued the Gulf state since it was controversially awarded this winter’s finals back in 2010.

World Cup organisers insist there have been “actually three” work-related deaths – amid reports of many more – since the construction of the majority of the stadiums began.

England boss Gareth Southgate previously said it is a “great shame” that sections of Three Lions supporters will not travel to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup and stressed that no-one was “complacent” about the issues involved.

He also hosted a 30-minute meeting with his squad in March, discussing the ongoing challenges in Qatar and opening a dialogue on how England could show their opposition.

Christian Eriksen got in touch with me a couple of weeks ago now. Obviously there is Hugo Lloris, who I am in touch with a lot anyway. So the discussion was there to maybe do something as a collective.

As England skipper, Kane has also been playing a role and is hopeful of agreeing some steps with his counterparts before the next international break in September.

“Christian Eriksen got in touch with me a couple of weeks ago now,” Kane said of the Denmark player and his former Tottenham team-mate.

“Obviously there is (Spurs’ France captain) Hugo Lloris, who I am in touch with a lot anyway. So the discussion was there to maybe do something as a collective.

“We spoke to the Football Association and their guys and I know they are having a meet-up next week or in a couple of weeks where they will discuss things amongst themselves as well.

“When we come to a decision of something we want to do, for sure we will share it.

Harry Kane (right) faced the press alongside manager Gareth Southgate on Monday (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Wire)

“I think it will be important to do it collectively. I feel like it will be a bit more of a stance, a bit more power.

“I’d imagine by the next camp we’d like to have something but the conversations will go on over the next couple of weeks and then I’m guessing after that, they will let us know how that went.

“The players can talk amongst ourselves and here we have obviously a squad WhatsApp group that we all talk amongst.

“So there’s no time time-frame on it but obviously the World Cup is coming thick and fast. We want to focus to be on that.”

Ahead of the World Cup draw, Qatar 2022 chief executive Nasser Al Khater urged Southgate to “pick his words carefully” after voicing concerns over the country’s suitability as hosts.

They (the players) are making a stand every time they speak.

But the 51-year-old has continued to back his players to talk about Qatar, as well as issues such as racism and the taking of the knee.

“They’re making a stand every time they speak,” he said of any plans for the players to make a stance.

“I was in Qatar for the draw and I met some of the workers and we had a long discussion and I’m back out there in a few weeks.

“The FA are doing things. I know Harry has had conversations with some of the other captains. We think some collective standpoints would be important.

“We want to have that consistency, we don’t want to have countries trying to outdo each other or pick each other off. They’re trying to do something that would try to make a difference if possible. So there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.”

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