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Qatar 2022 CEO Nasser Al Khater tells England boss Gareth Southgate: ‘Pick your words more carefully’ | Football News

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Nasser Al Khater, Qatar 2022 CEO, has hit back at Gareth Southgate after the England manager called into question the treatment of migrant workers in the Gulf State and claimed it was a “great shame” some England fans would not travel to this year’s World Cup – telling him to “pick his words carefully”.

Accusations concerning the treatment of migrant workers and a poor record of human rights have plagued Qatar since it was controversially awarded the World Cup finals back in 2010.

Southgate recently said he was now “clear” on the issues of hosting the World Cup in the region and that he plans to hold talks with his squad about these issues.

However, in an interview with Sky Sports News Chief Reporter Kaveh Solhekol, Al Khater has responded by warning the England boss to choose his words carefully when talking about such important issues.

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Gareth Southgate has questioned what England would achieve by boycotting this year’s World Cup due to human rights issues in Qatar

“My question would be, who from the England squad has come to Qatar? My question to the coach is, has he been to Qatar? Is he basing his opinions and his public statements on what he has read?” he said, although it is our understanding Southgate has been to Qatar before.

“Because it is kind of an issue if you’re basing your opinions and you are very vocal about that based on things you have read. Somebody with a lot of influence, such as Southgate, somebody with a big audience that listens to what he says, ought to pick his words very carefully.

Somebody with a lot of influence, such as Southgate, somebody with a big audience that listens to what he says, ought to pick his words very carefully

Nasser Al Khater, Qatar 2022 CEO

“And I think that before making statements like that, when it comes to the workers, he needs to come here and speak to workers and understand what workers get out of being here.

“There are isolated cases, those are the cases that make it to the media, however, I can assure him that if he comes here and speaks to the majority of the workers, they will tell you how they put their children through university, they will tell you how they’ve built their houses for them and their families.

“And these are the stories that nobody hears, so I look forward to welcoming him here, I look forward to meeting him at the draw and he can listen to my opinion, he does not have to believe it, but at least he needs to go that far to understand different opinions and different cultures.

“No country is perfect, let’s get that right and I do not think anybody can claim that, so if somebody is coming and claiming they are a perfect country, they need to really take a look at themselves.”

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino admits that although initially he was a critic of the World Cup going to the Middle East, FIFA can have a role in continuing to encourage change to Human Rights in Qatar.

Southgate also suggested some of England’s LGBTQ+ supporters would not travel to Qatar for the tournament given that in the Gulf State, male homosexuality is punishable by a prison sentence, same-sex marriages are not recognised by the government and women’s rights are much more restricted than in other parts of the world.

But Al Khater responded by reassuring all fans they would be safe in Qatar as long as they respected the region’s norms and cultures.

“First of all, people need to understand Qatar is the safest country in the Middle East, it is the second safest country in the world, people need to understand what that safety means and why it is the safest country in the Middle East and why it is one of the safest countries in the world,” he said.

“There is a lot of meaning in that, and I can assure fans that the reason they won’t feel safe here is because of the lack of understanding and the lack of understanding of tolerance.

“So again, people are basing their opinions and fears on things they do not understand and that is usually what causes apprehension with human beings, a lack of understanding.

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Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater examines the state-of-the-art facilities in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup, and the questions over human rights in the country

“People are going to feel safe here, people are going to be very comfortable, what I can say to fans is, we are a modest country, we have our culture, we have our norms, what we ask of them is to respect it. What that means is, whether you are a gay couple, whether you are a heterosexual couple, we have the same norms, we look at it the same way.

“So, all we ask is for people to be respectful, like we are respectful when we travel around the world, and basically just to observe these cultural differences. Basically what it means is public displays of affection is frowned upon, that is simply it.”

Southgate will be travelling to Qatar for Friday’s World Cup draw, with Al Khater offering to meet with the England manager to discuss the issues.

“If he [Gareth Southgate] is watching this interview, I extend him my deepest respect, I respect him as a coach, I respect him as a human being, like I said, I don’t have any issues with people’s opinions and obviously, when somebody has a different opinion you give them your side of the story,” he added.

“We can agree to disagree, but that is fine.”





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Pep Guardiola jokes he’s ‘sorry’ that he stopped Mikel Arteta from becoming Manchester City manager

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Arsenal will face City at the Etihad Stadium tonight, with Guardiola’s former assistant back on his old North West stomping ground in the FA Cup fourth round.

The Gunners head north leading rivals City by five points with a game in hand atop the Premier League, but acutely aware of the challenging taking on the frustrated Guardiola and company.

Arteta left Guardiola’s City setup in December 2019 to take the Arsenal helm, transforming the Gunners in remarkable fashion since.

“I am pretty sure if I would have left here before, he would be here [at City] and he would be the best, absolutely,” said Guardiola, of Arteta.

“But I extended my contract, I am sorry, and he didn’t wait, so it could not happen. But definitely it could have.”

Arteta joined Manchester City’s coaching ranks on retiring as a player in 2016, learning his craft under master tactician and serial winner Guardiola.

City’s former Barcelona boss revealed how Arteta would never celebrate goals against the Gunners, the team he represented more than 100 times between 2011 and 2016.

“He loves the club; I remember when we were together here and we scored goals, he jumped a lot and celebrated – except with one team,” said Guardiola.

“One team, every time we score a goal, I jump, look back and he was sitting there. It was Arsenal.”



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R Madrid 3 – 1 A Madrid

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Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior scored in extra-time as Real Madrid fought back to beat local rivals Atletico 3-1 on Thursday and reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

On a freezing night at a sold-out Santiago Bernabeu hosting its first game for 77 days due to the World Cup break, Real started slowly and Atletico had many dangerous counter-attacks.

Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata, right, celebrates with teammate Antoine Griezmann after scoring the opening goal during the Spanish Copa del Rey quarter final soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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Atletico Madrid took the lead against their rivals

Atletico captain Koke delivered a brilliant through ball to Nahuel Molina who ghosting in behind Reals defence and the full back set up Alvaro Morata, a former Real academy player, to tap the ball into an empty net in the 19th minute.

Eder Militao wasted a golden chance to equalise in the 32nd minute after Toni Kroos had delivered a perfect cross.

Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring
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Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring the opener

It was not only until Dani Ceballos came off the bench to replace the injured Ferland Mendy late in the first half that Real started to play better.

The 26-year-old midfielder injected a new dynamic into the team who were far more aggressive after the break.

Benzema wasted two good opportunities and Federico Valverde also sent a shot wide from just outside the box.

Real Madrid's Rodrygo celebrates with team-mates
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Real Madrid’s Rodrygo celebrates with team-mates

Substitute Rodrygo equalised in the 79th with a delightful goal, dribbling past three defenders before finishing well.

With Real Madrid in full control, Atletico played most of extra time with 10 men after defender Stefan Savic was shown his second yellow card for chopping down Eduardo Camavinga in the 99th minute.

Five minutes later, Real substitute Marco Asensio sent a low cross into the box and Vinicius’s deflected shot reached Benzema who unleashed an unstoppable strike into the net.

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the Spanish Copa del Rey quarter final soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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Karim Benzema’s goal made it 2-1 in extra time

Vinicius secured Real’s win in the dying seconds with a brilliant individual goal, running half the length of the pitch before scoring with a low shot.

“We got behind very early and after Mendy’s injury the whole team had to be rebuilt. But we woke up and played really well after the break,” Ceballos told TVE.

“They played better in the first half, but the coach corrected things in the second; we took control of the ball and found the goal. Then, after the red card, everything was easier.”

Real Madrid joined Barcelona, Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao in the semi-finals.



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Everything we know about Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes’ ankle

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Patrick Mahomes examines his ankle last Sunday against the Jaguars.

Patrick Mahomes examines his ankle last Sunday against the Jaguars.
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It’s conference championship week. With only four teams on the NFL schedule this week — the Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and Cincinnati Bengals — one interesting storyline can dominate the entire conversation leading up to the games. This time, it’s QB Patrick Mahomes’ ankle.

The fact that this storyline is the dominant one heading into the weekend makes sense. He’s the best player in the league, and his team is hosting the AFC Championship Game against the Bengals who are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Also, the game is taking place one week after he suffered a high-ankle sprain and was still able to hobble the Chiefs to victory — aided of course by a timely 98-yard touchdown drive that was led by backup quarterback Chad Henne.

How mobile does Mahomes look right now?

Since his right ankle got rolled against the Jacksonville Jaguars, no leg in America has had as much attention on it as his. Not even Brent Maher’s as he overcame his kicking yips during the Dallas Cowboys’ loss on Sunday to the Eagles. Mahomes’ ankle has so much attention on it that Fox 4 KC’s Harold R. Kuntz has been filming him walking down from the press conference podium the last two days. And by filming Mahomes, I mean only his legs.

Thursday update: Mahomes didn’t even need to use the stairs.

Knox’s assessment: Don’t be a hero… until Sunday.

Kuntz isn’t the only reporter on the scene sharing video footage of Mahomes’ mobility. During the portion of practice that was open to the media, many videos were sent out of Mahomes moving around. As the Chiefs were warming up, Mahomes actually jogged and spun as he headed toward his next station. He is certainly running better than he was on Sunday.

In their comments to the media, Andy Reid said that Mahomes “did a nice job and was “comfortable with what we did.” Mahomes said that he believed his Wednesday practice went, “better than I expected.”

For Chiefs fans — and those of us who want to see a well-played AFC Championship Game — this news out of Kansas City is the best we could’ve received. On the Chiefs’ most active days of practice, Mahomes was seen moving very well. Also, he and the head coach both gave positive updates about the health of the most important leg in sports this weekend.

Will the ankle affect Mahomes’ play on Sunday?

There is no possible way that Mahomes will be 100 percent against the Bengals. They are going to test that ankle by trying to apply the same type of pressure that disrupted the Buffalo Bills during the Bengals’ Divisional Round win on Sunday. However, if he can move around all game as well as he has been in practice, he will be able to play well enough for the Chiefs to have a chance at victory.

We’ve received the closeup and overhead views of Mahomes’ health. All that is left is the view at Arrowhead Stadium from the CBS cameras at 6:30 p.m. EST on Jan. 29, 2023.





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