Qatar World Cup: Emmanuel Macron makes tone-deaf comments about ‘not politicising sport’

French president Emmanuel Macron

French president Emmanuel Macron has said the Qatar World Cup shouldn’t be a forum for raising political issues, despite very real concerns of host nation shocking human rights record.

Macron, who will attend Qatar if defending champions France reach the semi-finals, said: “We must not politicise sport” and it’s “a very bad idea to politicise sport”.

France’s most successful club, Paris St-Germain, was bought by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011. The club has since gone on to win eight of the 11 Ligue 1 titles, BBC reported. 

Ahead of the World Cup on 20 November, the Gulf state has been heavily criticised for its anti-LGBTQ+ laws, awful human rights record and terrible treatment of migrant workers. 

Same-sex relationships are illegal in the Gulf nation, and those convicted can face up to seven years in jail, while queer Muslim men, under Sharia law, can be punished with the death penalty. 

In a bid to support the LGBTQ+ community England’s captain Harry Kane, along with eight other captains of European teams, will wear the OneLove armband to promote diversity and inclusion. 

France refuse to wear OneLove armband

However, France captain, Hugo Lloris, has announced he won’t wear an armband because he wants to “show respect” to Qatar, where being gay remains illegal. 

Lloris said: “This will allow us to avoid having to answer questions on this before and during the competition because there comes a point where you have to keep the focus on the football rather than expend energy on things that are not our responsibility.

“When we welcome foreign visitors to France we often would like them to respect our rules and our culture. I will do the same when I go to Qatar.” 

The comments from Macron and Lloris follows FIFA calling on participating nations to “focus on the football” rather than “handing out moral lessons” during the Qatar World Cup. 

Several fans, however, have chosen to boycott the World Cup, saying that the Football Association’s (FA) safety promises are “not even close” to what is needed.

France will firstly play on Tuesday, 22 November against Australia.