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Stephen Kenny Outspoken On Human Rights Issues Ahead Of Qatar Friendly

Stephen Kenny Outspoken On Human Rights Issues Ahead Of Qatar Friendly
By Gary Connaughton

While most of the focus in the buildup to Ireland's friendly against Qatar tomorrow has been on the team's recent struggles, the protest of some national teams against alleged human rights violations in the Asian nation provide a very interesting side plot to the fixture.

The likes of Norway and Germany have protested the alleged treatment of migrant workers in Qatar before World Cup qualifiers in recent days, with the 2022 tournament taking place in the country.

There have been a high number of deaths related to the building of stadiums for the World Cup, with the use of low paid migrant workers in supposedly unsafe conditions coming in for heavy criticism.

Some have suggested that Ireland hold a similar protest before the friendly in Budapest tomorrow evening, something that could have significant impact when you consider that Qatar will be lining up in opposition.

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Speaking ahead of that game, Ireland boss Stephen Kenny said he was unsure if his players were planning on having any such protest. He was also very outspoken on the issues surrounding the construction of stadiums in Qatar, also admitting that it was a difficult issue to summarise in the wider context of global sport.

I'm all about freedom speech. Any individual has their right to express their opinion on the majority of issues, I have no problem with that.

I think there is a clear issue with human rights in the building of stadiums in Qatar and the number of people that have died. You can't sweep that under the carpet, it can't be ignored.

Initially the Norwegian team and various other teams have backed that, they are entitled to do that with good reason. It's not acceptable for people to lose their lives.

The disparity of wealth between rich and poor, to have people living in conditions of squaller and people dying in those conditions is not acceptable.

Where do you draw the line? For example, America boycotting the Olympics in Russia and Russia boycotting the Olympics in America, what does that achieve? Even years later we haven't really gauged the measurement of what that achieved.

Is handing out the World Cup to Qatar initially the problem, or should teams refuse to go and players refuse to play? Those are different matters.

It's a broader issue in sport. What countries do you pick and say 'you can't do that'?

It is a very complex issue and is something that needs a wider debate.

This issue will not go away in the coming months, with criticism towards FIFA and the Qatari authorities only likely to intensify as we get closer to the 2022 World Cup.

SEE ALSO: Here's The Ireland Team We Want To See Against Qatar

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