Jurgen Klopp ‘angry’ over decision to award World Cup to Qatar

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Jurgen Klopp has hit out at the controversial decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar while taking aim at the media and football authorities.

Jurgen Klopp has revealed he won't attend the upcoming World Cup and feels 'angry' over the decision to allow Qatar to host.

It is 12 years since the Arab nation was controversially chosen for the 2022 edition of football's flagship tournament in a bidding process that has since been hit by accusations of bribery and corruption.

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Qatar's poor human rights record was a major factor behind unease over its selection, and discomfort on that front has only increased amid subsequent allegations of migrants being exploited to help build stadiums.

Its soaring summer temperatures have also meant that, for the first time ever, the World Cup is being held in the middle of the European football season.

Consequently, Liverpool boss Klopp says he is less enthused than usual about the prospect of watching the tournament. He said: "I will watch the games anyway but it is different.

"I watched an old documentary about the whole situation, about when it got announced that Russia and Qatar are the places for the next World Cups. I think it was the first time in history they announced two in one go.

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"We all know how it happened and that we can still let it happen, with no legal thing afterwards, led to a real… what can I say?

"Now it is open, now everybody knows, but still it was hidden and you think: ‘How can that all happen?’ It was 12 years ago.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Picture: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty ImagesLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Picture: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Picture: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images | Liverpool FC via Getty Images

"It’s nothing to do with Qatar. They won the World Cup and now it is there. But in the moment you put it there, all the things that followed it up were clear. And the people who were involved at that time should have known.

"Later on we talk about human rights in terms of the people who have to work there in circumstances that are, let me say it nicely, difficult.

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"We couldn’t play the World Cup there in the summer because of the temperature and there was not one stadium in Qatar, or maybe one. So you have to build stadiums. I don’t think anybody thought about that on that day, that somebody has to build them.

"It’s not like Aladdin with his wonder lamp and 'Boom, there’s a new stadium'. The situation makes you angry. How can it not?"

Despite his earlier revelation that he had learned much about the controversial bidding process from a documentary, Klopp later suggested that the media deserve a large share of the blame for the fact that the World Cup was not taken away from Qatar.

And he railed against the pressure being placed upon players and managers to condemn human rights issues in Qatar, including the fact that the country outlaws homsexuality.

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He added: "I will watch it from a football point of view but I don’t like the fact that players now have to send a message. You are all journalists.

"You should have sent the message but you didn’t write the most critical articles about circumstances that were clear. There we are guilty.

"But now we are telling players they have to wear an armband and if they don’t do it then they are not on their side. No, no, no; these are footballers, it is a tournament and the players must go there and play and do the best for their countries. It is nothing to do with the circumstances.

"I already see it in interviews all the time – ‘How is it being here?’ It is all not ok for the players, I really have to say that.

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"It is tournament, we all let it happen, but it is there, fine, because 12 years ago nobody did anything and we cannot change it now.

"They are wonderful people there and it is not at all that everything is bad over there but how it happened was not right in the first place.

"But now it is there, let them play the game as players and managers. Don’t put Gareth Southgate constantly in a situation where he has to talk about everything.

"He has an opinion but he’s not a politician, I’m not a politician, he’s a manager of England so let him do that. If you want to write about something else then do it, but by yourself without asking us so that it’s ‘Klopp said’ or ‘Southgate said’. As if that would change anything. You more than I let it happen 12 years ago."

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When it was put to Klopp that journalists had frequently criticised the decision to award the World Cup to Qatar, he replied: "But not then. How is it possible at that time that it was just a story about it happening?

"It was already clear what would happen and then you follow it up with ‘Oh yes, it is difficult to build a stadium in Qatar and it is 50 degrees’.

"It’s impossible for humans to be out there doing hard physical work. There were plenty of chances in the next three or four years to say the process was not right and a lot of people took money for the wrong reasons."

It was also pointed out to Klopp that people involved in football - rather than the media who cover it - had allowed Qatar to host the tournament.

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In response, he said: "No, they were football politicians. The Brazilian guy [Joao Havelange].

"Do you really think we did enough in the first place? Now we are making a story about it when it is about to happen and putting players under pressure about what they will do.

"Asking Harry Kane if he will wear the armband, the other guys saying please don’t make political statements. That’s not ok. It was organised by other people and we all let it happen. Everything was on the table.

"But still Mr Blatter came out of it somehow, and others as well. It was that long ago that some of the worst guys died already. We could have sorted it long ago.

"It is not about Qatar, they won the World Cup. I want a lot of things but don’t get them. I will watch the games of course but, yes, it is different to other World Cups."

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