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Friday, November 18, 2022 – Norway manager, Stale Solbakken, has criticized world football governing body, FIFA for awarding the 2022 FIFA world cup to Qatar.

Solbakken said that “Fifa has the biggest failing” and made “the biggest mistake” when Qatar was controversially named as host nation in 2010 saying the “world was asleep” when Qatar was awarded the tournament

Qatar has been criticized for its stance on same-sex relationships, human rights and treatment of migrant workers before the tournament.

Speaking before Thursday’s friendly between Norway and the Republic of Ireland in Dublin, Solbakken said;

“The first years after it was given to Qatar, I think the whole world was more or less asleep,” he said.

“I think it’s only in the last years that it’s suddenly, ‘Oh, the World Cup in Qatar’.

“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.”

Norway, like the Republic of Ireland, did not qualify for the World Cup but Solbakken, when asked if he would have been uncomfortable taking his team to Qatar, 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.”

When asked about Solbakken’s remarks, Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny said: “It’s a legitimate criticism. I can’t discount that point of view. I personally made that point on the two occasions when we played Qatar.

“I spoke out at that time when we played Qatar in our group home and away, the disparity between rich and poor in Qatar, the deaths of the migrant workers – obviously the numbers have been questioned, different media outlets have given different accounts of what kind of numbers. “But there’s no doubt that it was distressing and very tragic, really, in those circumstances. It shouldn’t happen, that’s for sure.”

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