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Former Germany captain Philipp Lahm plans to boycott the World Cup in Qatar

Rory O'Callaghan

Published 
| Last updated 

Former Germany captain Philipp Lahm plans to boycott the World Cup in Qatar

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Former Germany and Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm will boycott the World Cup this winter over host nation Qatar's poor human rights record.

FIFA has faced widespread criticism for awarding the tournament to the tiny Gulf nation, which has a population over just over two million people.

Qatar had never previously qualified for the World Cup and was ranked 113th in the world when awarded hosting rights for the tournament, which has been moved to winter this year due to the extreme summer temperatures in the nation.

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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.

Former Bayern Munich full-back Lahm captained Germany to glory at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and now works as the German FA's tournament director for Euro 2024.

But the 38-year-old says he won't attend the World Cup in Qatar.

"I'm not part of the delegation and I'm not keen on flying there as a fan," Lahm told German publication Kicker.

"I prefer to follow the tournament from home.

Lahm says he won't attend the World Cup in Qatar this winter (Image: Alamy)
Lahm says he won't attend the World Cup in Qatar this winter (Image: Alamy)

"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."

A 2021 investigation by The Guardian found that more than 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since it was announced as the host nation 12 years ago, with 37 deaths directly linked to the construction of stadiums for 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.

Lahm won the World Cup with Germany in 2014 (Image: Alamy)
Lahm won the World Cup with Germany in 2014 (Image: Alamy)

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has insisted that "all are welcome" in the Gulf state and has urged LGBTQ+ football fans to attend the tournament.

But a recent investigation – conducted jointly by NRK and SVT in Sweden and DR in Denmark - found that some hotels in the country were refusing to allow same-sex couples to stay.

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 Khaterwho warned Southgate to "pick his words carefully".

Topics: Germany, Qatar, Football World Cup, Football

Rory O'Callaghan
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