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Norway boss: Qatar should’ve been prevented from hosting the 2022 World Cup


Lise Klaveness, president of the Norwegian Football Federation, spoke out strongly about the award of the tournament to the Gulf state at the FIFA Congress in March, and the nation will be sending only one member of staff – an analyst to run the rule over Euro 2024 qualifying opponents Spain.

Asked about Norway’s opposition as he prepared for Thursday night’s friendly against the Republic Ireland in Dublin, Solbakken said: “I think that first of all FIFA has the biggest failing, given the circumstances back when Qatar was given the tournament (in 2010). That is obviously the biggest mistake.

“After that, I don’t think football has done enough, I don’t think journalists have done enough. I think you also have been asleep for a long, long time.

“I think it’s only in the last years that it’s suddenly, ‘Oh, the World Cup in Qatar’. The first years after it was given to Qatar, I think the whole world was more or less asleep, including football people and also journalists.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has urged participating nations to “let football take the stage”, but has also called for a ceasefire in Russia’s war against Ukraine – a message Solbakken feels is mixed.

He said: “My personal concerns are obviously on the human rights issue and the FIFA democracy way of handling it, which has not been good.

“Also, all the faults that has been done so far and now coming close to the World Cup, it is a little bit the same that the leaders of FIFA in many ways comes up with some strange meanings, ‘Let’s play football, let’s not focus on the other things’, but at the same time trying to stop a war. So it’s a little bit strange, the communication.”

Asked if he would have been uncomfortable taking his team to Qatar, Solbakken added: “I think nobody is comfortable with it.

“But the teams that are going there, obviously the players’ main issue should be to play football and for the coaches to coach the team.

“But I think at the same time, football’s political people have a great responsibility to make a stand that this kind of way of where certain World Cups should go, that you need to act in a certain way and you have to have equal rights for all human beings and that all people are treated well.”



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