French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that “sport should not be politicized,” days after announcing, amid criticism, that he would attend the World Cup in Qatar if Les Bleus reached the semifinals.
Speaking from Bangkok, Macron noted that human rights and environmental issues in Qatar were “questions to ask when the event is awarded.”
FIFA chose Qatar as the host of this year’s World Cup in a vote held in 2010.
The world’s biggest national team tournament has sparked controversy, from the living conditions of migrant workers to the impact of air-conditioned stadiums on the environment and the place of LGBTQ people, women and minorities.
The first World Cup to be held in an Arab country starts on Sunday.
Earlier this week, the Elysee Palace indicated that Macron will travel to Qatar if the team reaches the semifinals and specified that the president “wrote them a message” in this regard.
Last month, the city of Paris announced it will not show World Cup matches on giant screens in public areas for fans over concerns about the country’s human rights record.
Although France is the defending champion, other cities in the country adopted the same measure.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.