GARETH SOUTHGATE has been blasted by Qatar’s World Cup boss for his public attack on the country.
The England boss ruled out a boycott of this year’s tournament about the hosts’ appalling human rights record and insists it is too late to protest the finals being played there.
But he raised the issue of migrant workers’ rights in the Gulf state and fears England’s LGBT fans will not travel there for the World Cup because they don’t feel welcome in a country where homosexuality is illegal.
However, Qatar 2022 executive director Nasser Al Khater insists south gate should look at England’s own problems before criticizing his nation.
Al Khater stormed: “No country is perfect, so if someone comes along and says they’re a perfect country, they really have to look at themselves.
“Does he base his opinions and public statements on what he has read? Because it’s a problem when you base an opinion you’re very vocal about only on things you’ve read.
“Someone with a lot of influence like Southgate, someone with a large audience listening to what they say, has to choose their words very carefully before making statements like that.
“Was he in Qatar? Who from England was here?
“I look forward to welcoming him here, I look forward to meeting him in Friday’s draw.
“He can listen to my opinions, he doesn’t have to believe them, but at least he has to go as far as to understand other opinions and other cultures.”
Southgate has visited Qatar on football fact-finding missions at least twice since 2019, while England stars Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Tyrone Mings have also been in the country before.
Three Lions coach Paul Nevin also worked in Qatar for five years.
But Southgate’s comments in recent days have angered Al Khater.
Southgate had said: “Some of the religious and cultural aspects are going to be very difficult to change, but there is an opportunity to use our voices positively.”
While England’s Liverpool midfielder Henderson admitted he was rocked by the situation in Doha as the FA laid out the details to players last week.
He said: “When we received proper briefing, it was quite shocking and appalling to hear some of the problems that happened there.”
While Southgate added: “I found the human rights issues quite overwhelming but I’m pretty clear on the areas of concern at this tournament.
“There are ongoing concerns about workers’ rights and the conditions in which they live.
“Then there are the issues that potentially threaten our fans when they travel: women’s rights and the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
“Unfortunately, based on the discussions I’ve had, I don’t think some of these communities will go and that’s a huge shame.”
However in one Sky Sports In the interview, Al Khater continued: “He needs to come here, talk to workers, understand what they gain from being here.
“There are isolated cases.
“But I can assure him if he speaks to the majority of the workers they will tell you how they got their children through university, how they built their homes for their families and those are the stories nobody hears .”
On the subject of England’s LGBT supporters, he added: “Qatar is the safest country in the Middle East, the second safest country in the world.
“I can assure fans that the reason they won’t feel safe here is the lack of understanding.
“People base their fears on things they don’t understand, and that’s usually what causes people to worry.
“What I can say is that people will feel safe here.
“We are a humble country, we have our culture and we ask that you respect it.
“Whether you’re a gay couple, whether you’re straight, we have the same norms, so we’re just asking people to be respectful, like we’re respectful when we travel around the world, and to be aware of those cultural differences .
“It means that public displays of affection are frowned upon, it just is.”
He plans to meet Southgate World Cup draw on Fridayadding: “I express my deepest respect to him.
“I respect him as a coach, as a person. I have no problem with people’s opinions, but if someone has a different opinion, you give them your side of the story.
“We can disagree, but that’s okay.”
https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/18119587/england-southgate-middle-east-al-khater/ England boss Gareth Southgate has been criticized by Qatar’s World Cup boss for a public attack on the Middle East nation