Football icon blasts ex-pros for Qatar World Cup promotion – Reuters

Eric Cantona had harsh words for former footballers ahead of the 2022 World Cup

Manchester United legend Eric Cantona has blasted sports figures promoting Qatar ahead of this year’s FIFA World Cup, including former team-mate David Beckham, who signed an estimated 10-15 deal million pounds ($10.6-16 million) per year. to showcase the country’s capital, Doha, as a tourist destination.

Qatar has been a controversial choice to host this year’s World Cup, with critics pointing to its oft-criticized human rights record as well as a lack of inclusivity for the LGBT community, and stating that a country with such views should not have been considered a viable host for the world’s biggest sporting event.

The country’s World Cup organizers have also been blamed for terrible working conditions for the low-wage workers who built the stadium’s necessary infrastructure, with some estimates indicating migrant worker deaths could number in the thousands.

And if David Beckham may not speak, the same is not true for Cantona.

« I wouldn’t do it at all« , Cantona said in an interview with sports publication The Athletic.

« I do the complete opposite. In January 2022, I started saying that. I was perhaps the first. But I am free to do so. And of course, an ex-player being paid to do that stuff… They might not know what happened there.

« Or, if they know, I think they did wrong. I think they made a big mistake. A big, big mistake.”

Frenchman Cantona was known throughout his playing career for being one of the footballersthe most colorful characters.

He gained permanent infamy for an incident during a Premier League game with Crystal Palace in January 1995 in which he assaulted a supporter shortly after receiving a red card from the referee.

He was then hit with a months-long football ban.

But for all their mistakes on the pitch, none, he suggests, have parity with former footballers like Beckham who profit directly from sponsorship deals with the country.

« There are plenty of examples of cheap sheep in football, like everywhere, » he added.

« I recently heard people say that footballers should be socially engaged, be active, like artists. But the artists – 90% of them are active in easy things, without any risk. Where it’s risky, you don’t have anyone, so they’re all cheap sheep.

« They’re just in the business like everyone else. They say they’re against this or that, but it’s always the easiest thing. Today is the weather, which is good, but you think you are [somebody] really committed and who takes risks because you say: “We have to pay attention to the climate”?

But while Cantona highlighted some big-name former pros who were extracting money from Qatar, he was less resentful of the current generation of players who could feature in the tournament when it kicks off in November.

« If you have a player who says, « I’m going to boycott the World Cup », you say, « Bravo ». But you can’t condemn a 20-year-old player, who has a 10-year career, who lives in a world surrounded by football people 24 hours a day., » he said.

« But let’s talk about the federations, let’s talk about the politicians, who have the power to say: “No, we are not going to the World Cup”.

« We cannot be disappointed if the players do not want to boycott the World Cup, because at the top, the politicians, the presidents, the federations, the ministers. The real power, all over the world, they have the power to boycott it. It’s too easy to tell the players.”

Qatar set to ease rules for World Cup violators – Reuters


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