THE BALLOON – Fernando Gomes on human rights at the World Cup: “Qatar knew…” (FPF)

In an interview with the Spanish newspaper Marca, Fernando Gomes, president of the Portuguese Football Federation, began by addressing the joint candidate with Spain to organize the 2030 World Cup, then expanded to three with the integration of the ‘Ukraine.

“It’s an application that has it all: infrastructure, experience and excellent human capital. From this point of view, I think that we are the candidate who offers the best guarantees. I will be happy to help and support Portugal as a fan because it will be a sign that we have done a good job and won the bid. There is a time for everything, I am finishing my third term and I think I have done everything I aspired to and committed myself to when I arrived eleven years ago.”

Criticism of demagoguery when integrating Ukraine into the candidacy, adding an emotional charge at the time of the vote:

“I can assure you that there was no such calculation when we made the decision. What there was was a genuine desire to integrate Ukraine into a wider European bid. I said it in Nyon when we formalized the inclusion of Ukraine, football is more than football, more and more. For me, it is a logical and natural decision. Continue with this application indifferent to what is happening in Ukraine would be incomprehensible.

Since the integration of Ukraine is a question of values, thoughts on the controversy surrounding human rights in Qatar, host country of the next World Cup:

“The World Cup in Qatar was decided 12 years ago, using a different voting model than the one currently in place. The idea was to bring the World Cup to a geographical region that had never hosted the main football competition in the world, as was the case with South Africa in 2010. An idea, in itself, commendable and which was an opportunity for Qatar. Unfortunately, we know things haven’t gone well so far.

Outrage in the world of football over the problem of migrant workers:

“What is discussed in internal circuits is not always common knowledge. FIFA reassured, in a meeting with UEFA in October, that everyone was safe and included. With regard to migrant workers and their families, our position is clear: something must be done to support them.

Healthy environment for a World Cup?

“The World Cup is a unique moment for what it represents, not only in terms of football, but also for the meeting of people from all continents, different cultures and beliefs, and this richness is unparalleled. For this, conditions must be created. FIFA and local authorities have assured that this will be done.

Personal expectations:

“It is not acceptable that there is any form of discrimination or restriction of freedom of the press during the World Cup. When they applied, Qatar knew the spirit and the atmosphere of a competition of this magnitude. This commitment must be honored. The world is very attentive to what is going to happen in Qatar.

Point of reflection for future choices:

“I don’t have a crystal ball to answer, but I think the people responsible for making these kinds of decisions should be increasingly aware of what voting entails.”

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