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‘I don’t know’ – Southgate unsure what World Cup boycott ‘would achieve’



England manager Gareth Southgate is unsure what a boycott of this year’s World Cup “would achieve” as the tournament would still go ahead.

Teams are coming under pressure to talk about Qatar’s human rights issues.

Southgate held talks with his squad earlier this week on the problems. He thinks it is unclear what difference a boycott would make.

Do England get awarded Euro 2020 by default now?

“I don’t really know what that achieves,” he said. “It would be a big story but the tournament would go ahead.

“The fact, unfortunately, is the biggest issue, which is non-religious and non-cultural, is what happened with the building of the stadiums – and there is nothing we can do about that either, sadly.

“We have known for eight years that this is going to be in Qatar. Is the stance against Qatar as a country? We are intertwined, as we are seeing with Russia, with all sorts of investment in this country.

“It is such a complex world of deals as we have also seen with Saudi Arabia. This is complicated, the issues themselves aren’t complicated. All the repercussions if diplomatic relations and dealing with other countries and other organisations are extremely complicated.

“It’s possible, but it’s not a decision that the players or myself would make.”

The boss said his side would face criticism whatever action they took.

He added: “Whatever we do we are going to be criticised. We are back out to Qatar for the draw and that means more chances to meet people on the ground.

“There are going to be things ongoing throughout the year, the players have stepped up to the plate on a number of issues. We have got to use our voice in the right way at the right time.”

Emile Smith Rowe is unlikely to play in England’s friendly against Switzerland on Saturday.

The Arsenal attacker missed training on Friday and is set to sit out the Alzheimer’s Society International at Wembley.

“Emile didn’t train today, so I think (it is) unlikely he would be involved tomorrow, nothing too serious,” Southgate said.

“It was a shame to lose Bukayo (Saka), but we are back in these moments with Covid where there is a spike in the country and we are the same.

“There will be debuts this week for sure, whether that is tomorrow or Tuesday.”

Southgate also expressed surprise at Italy’s World Cup play-off defeat to North Macedonia on Thursday.

“It’s a big surprise, it’s clear sometimes teams have a cycle and whether that was a cycle or the after-affects of the (Euro 2020) final and everything else, that is where our players did so well,” he said.

“To get over the emotion of the summer and perform the way we did in the autumn was easily under-estimated.

“I suspect looking at the results and performances that Italy were in that position, but there were fine margins in three or four of their games and that is football.”

The post ‘I don’t know’ – Southgate unsure what World Cup boycott ‘would achieve’ appeared first on Football365.

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