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‘It wasn’t our decision’ – England stars remain silent on human rights in Qatar as Kane sidesteps World Cup issue again

GARETH SOUTHGATE spent over half an hour speaking to England’s squad about the Qatar World Cup controversy.

At their first team meeting of 2022 at St George’s Park, the players were briefed on the country’s nefarious human rights problems.

Harry Kane gave an unsatisfactory answer to questions about Qatar

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Harry Kane gave an unsatisfactory answer to questions about QatarPhoto credit: Reuters
England are playing at St George's Park before their next two friendlies

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England are playing at St George’s Park before their next two friendliesPhoto credit: Getty

From workers’ rights to discriminatory measures against the LGBT community.

But we are still waiting for a real message from the England Player.

Harry Kane spoke on the subject on Wednesday before the Three Lions’ first game of this World Cup year against Switzerland on Saturday.

But there wasn’t much substance in the captain’s words, well-intentioned as they were.

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Germany’s players have worn t-shirts expressing their concerns about human rights in Qatar. So also Norway and Holland.

Kane wants to talk to other international captains spores Teammates Hugo Lloris from France and Son Heung-min from South Korea on the situation.

And whether or not they can come up with a plan, he could easily have had that conversation in the four months since England qualified.

But will the English players actually do anything? Don’t hold your breath.

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Gareth Southgate spoke to his players

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Gareth Southgate spoke to his playersPhoto credit: Getty

Kane said, “It’s not something that we’ve discussed in depth. Apparently we had the meeting last night. That was the first time we talked about it.

“I’m thinking about this camp and the next camp, we’re going to talk about what we can do.

“There are a few other national captains in my team at Tottenham. Maybe now we’ll see if we can come to an agreement.

“So, yeah, that’s something that obviously myself and some of the older players on the team will be trying to achieve in the coming months.”

Kane was pressured into whether it was right for the tiny Middle Eastern nation to host the World Cup. He said: “It wasn’t our decision, it was Fifa’s decision.

“As players, we can only look forward to a great tournament and hope that everything else around it, the issues that come with it, can be sorted out as best we can.

“We don’t expect everything to change overnight, these things take time.

“It’s a different culture, it’s a different religion, so it’s difficult to just answer yes or no. We just have to do what we can.

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“Professionally, a World Cup is one of the biggest tournaments I have ever attended.

“It’s definitely that excitement of being there and reliving that.

“Of course there are some problems that you cannot hide from.

“There are some conflicting emotions. But I think for me and for our team it’s about controlling what we can control.

“And that’s to make sure we’re doing what we can and using our platforms to help in any way we can.

“As the captain, we have to learn to manage that, along with the other older players on the team, and balance the two.”

south gate spoke to the squad about Qatar, with Kane addressing various topics along with a few others.

Kane said: “We wanted to qualify for the Worlds beforehand and we did, so it was our first opportunity to have that conversation.

Germany's players ahead of last year's World Cup qualifier against Iceland

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Germany’s players ahead of last year’s World Cup qualifier against IcelandPhoto credit: Getty

“Gareth chaired this meeting and we talked about what to expect and of course some of the important issues surrounding the World Cup.

“I think it’s important for us as players now to talk to each other, not only at this camp but also in the upcoming camps in June.

“I feel like as a group we’ve never shied away from important issues, we’ve always had our own opinions, and we’ve always tried to show unity in everything we’ve done.”

It is an absolute disgrace that the World Cup is being hosted in Qatar, but any hopes of a team boycott have always been pie in the sky.

And even if things seem to get better during the World Cup in November and December, things will return to normal afterwards.

It’s similar to the previous tournament in Russia in 2018, when the country showed its best face until members of the feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot held up the final with a pitch protest Wladimir Putin.

I feel like as a group we have never shied away from important issues

Harry Kane

Elsewhere, Kane was asked about his Spurs future and ducked the issue.

He said: “My main goal is to finish this season first and foremost.

“We’re still in a race for the top four and that’s my focus. I cannot control what will happen in the future. It’s a big year for everyone.

“Not just me. I want to go into this tournament at my best and it’s about controlling what I can control – and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few months.

“It’s important to stay focused in the summer and I’m looking forward to a fantastic tournament.”

Asked if Tottenham boss Antonio Conte asked him to stay, he said, “Look, I’m not going to engage in discussions, personal conversations with the manager.”

So if the opportunity arises, it looks like Kane will likely be out.

The Three Lions are preparing for the games against Switzerland in Ivory Coast

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The Three Lions are preparing for the games against Switzerland in Ivory CoastPhoto credit: Getty
The England squad has three newcomers

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The England squad has three newcomersPhoto credit: Getty

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/18046892/england-qatar-kane-world-cup/ ‘It wasn’t our decision’ – England stars remain silent on human rights in Qatar as Kane sidesteps World Cup issue again

Ashley

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