Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has delivered an impassioned rant towards journalists about the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
The competition is due to get started in just two weeks’ time but the build-up has been steeped in controversy following allegations of foul play from the FIFA hierarchy in the voting process to award Qatar the competition.
Fifteen of the 22 FIFA executive committee members who were involved in the selection have since faced criminal charges or been banned by world football’s governing body.
This includes former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who publicly admitted years later that the decision was a mistake.
As well as the decision to award them hosting duties, Qatar has been under a huge spotlight due to their human rights record and the poor working conditions offered to those building stadiums for the competition, including reports that 6500 migrant workers have died while working in construction.
While the football will take centre stage, the watching world will have a close eye on the nation of Qatar as they host the competition and while Klopp says that he’ll be watching the matches, he made his views on the competition very clear in a lengthy rant.
Speaking to the press, Klopp said: “I will watch the games anyway but it’s different.
“I’ve watched an old documentary on the whole situation and when it got announced that Russia and Qatar are the places for the next two World Cups, it was the first time in history that they’d announced two in one, and the whole situation around it.
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“We all know how it happened and how you can still let it happen with no legal thing afterwards to say ‘okay, now it’s open, now everybody knows’.
“It was still hidden everywhere and you think wow, how could that all happen? It was 12 years ago I think and now it’s coming.
“It’s nothing to do Qatar and that they won the World Cup and now it’s there. The moment that when you put it there, it was all the things that put it there were clear.
“The people at that time, everybody who was involved, should have known in that moment. Later on there would be talk of human rights in the sense that people have to work there in circumstances that, said nicely, are difficult.
“We couldn’t play the World Cup there in the summer because of the temperature. Now it’s pretty hot and there was not one stadium in Qatar, or maybe one, so they had to build stadiums and nobody thought about that, or nobody mentioned that on that day.
“Somebody had to build them because they don’t just ‘pfft, there’s a new stadium’. It’s not Aladdin with the lamp, or whatever you call him.
“That’s the situation and it can make you angry. How can it not? I watch it from a football point of view and I don’t like the fact that our players from time to time get in a situation where they have to send a message – you’re all journalists, you should have sent a message. You didn’t write the most critical article about it and not because it’s Qatar and things, but about the circumstances because it’s clear.
“There we are guilty, that’s how it is. But now telling players to wear this armband if you don’t do it then you’re not on their side and if you do it, you are on their side. No, they’re footballers. It’s a tournament, we have to organise it and players have to play and do their best for their countries.
“They have nothing to do with the circumstances. I see interviews all of the time and it’s ‘how is it being here’, it’s not okay for the players, that’s all I have to say.
“It’s a tournament, we all let it happen. It’s there and it’s fine because five years ago no one did anything then, we can’t change anything now. Go there, there’s wonderful people there and it’s not at all that everything is bad, but it’s just how it happened in the first place was not right.
“Now that it’s there, let them play the games – the players and the managers. Don’t put Gareth Southgate constantly in a situation where he’s got to talk about everything. I’m not a politician with an opinion and he’s not a politician. He’s the manager of England, let him do that and if you want to write something else about it then do it, but by yourself without asking us and all of these kinds of things and ‘Klopp said’ and ‘Southgate said’ and these things as if it will change anything.
“We all, you more than I, let it happen 12 years ago. There would have been plenty of chances afterwards for people to say ‘by the way, the process wasn’t right’ or ‘a lot of people took money for the wrong reason’.
“I know it happened, but nothing changed. Football people? They were football politicians. You mean a Brazilian guy?”
Addressing the journalists, he said: “I can see in your face that you feel personally blamed by me because I mentioned that journalists should have done more. Look at your body language and how you sit there, honestly. It’s like ‘no, we did, but the football people did’.
“Do you really think that we did enough in the first place? Making a story when it’s happened and it’s coming around the corner and putting players under pressure which you will do. You’ll be asking questions, asking Harry Kane if he’ll wear it, Harry Kane says he’ll wear it and the other guys say ‘please don’t make political statements’, that’s not okay.
“The thing is organised by other people. I’m not saying you let it happen but we all let it happen. At that time everything was on the table and well, still, Mr Blatter came out of it and others as well and it was that long ago that some of those guys died already.
“It was not that long ago when we could have sorted it and it’s not anything about Qatar. They won the World Cup for whatever reason and it’s fine. I want a lot of things and don’t get them and you carry on with it. You can’t have everything, it’s fine.
“I will watch games, but yes, it’s different to others.”
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- Jurgen Klopp says Qatar World Cup makes him ‘angry’ as Liverpool boss calls out journalists in passionate rant
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