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FIFA urges World Cup participants to 'focus on the football' amid continued Qatar controversy

15:23 GMT+3 04/11/2022
20220408 Gianni Infantino
FIFA president Gianni Infantino and secretary general Fatma Samoura have written to World Cup teams asking them to "let football take centre stage".
  • FIFA wants football to be celebrated
  • Have urged football to be kept out of politics
  • Letter focuses on mutual respect and non-discrimination

WHAT HAPPENED? FIFA's top officials have urged participating teams in Qatar to "focus on football" and not to get involved "in every ideological or political battle that exists". The letter has further stressed the importance of mutual respect and non-discrimination, which are regarded as the core values of the sport.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Please, let’s now focus on the football! We know football does not live in a vacuum and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all around the world," FIFA President Infantino and Samoura wrote in their letter to the 32 teams.

"At FIFA, we try to respect all opinions and beliefs, without handing out moral lessons to the rest of the world. One of the great strengths of the world is indeed its very diversity, and if inclusion means anything, it means having respect for that diversity.

“No one people or culture or nation is ‘better’ than any other. This principle is the very foundation stone of mutual respect and non-discrimination. And this is also one of the core values of football," they added.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Qatar's treatment of its migrant workers has sparked controversy across the world. However, the country is still expecting at least 1.2 million international visitors during the World Cup. Three rounds of tickets sales have already been completed and FIFA have stated that they have sold more than 2.45 million tickets.

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WHAT NEXT? The 2022 FIFA World Cup will kick off on November 20 with the final to be held on December 18.