Pair named as Wales ambassadors for World Cup in Qatar

Former Welsh international footballer Laura McAllister and Olympic hero Colin Jackson have been announced as ambassadors for Wales during the World Cup in Qatar.

The pair join London-based DJ and presenter Katie Owen and renowned chef Bryn Williams as Lleisiau Cymru – meaning Voices Wales.

They will act as influential voices for Wales in Qatar, joining Ian Rush and Jess Fishlock, who are both the Football Association of Wales ambassadors for the 2022 World Cup.

Laura McAllister Handout Photo
Laura McAllister (John Smith/FAW)

Professor McAllister, who captained the Welsh national team in the 1990s and is now a public policy expert at Cardiff University, said: “The World Cup offers an unprecedented opportunity for us to raise the profile of Cymru whilst also staying firm to and promoting our values of diversity, inclusivity and respect for human rights.

“As ‘Lleisiau Cymru’ we will ensure we maximise this unique opportunity for Wales, for football and beyond.”

The Wales team head to Qatar on Tuesday after ending a 64-year World Cup drought. They kick off their first match against the USA on November 21 and will also play England in the group stages.

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said the Welsh Government was committed to promoting a progressive, modern Wales and wanted to secure a positive legacy from the tournament.

“I’m delighted to announce our comprehensive plans to promote an open, progressive Wales to the world during the Fifa World Cup,” Mr Gething said.

“When people see Wales, they will see our values. A global audience of five billion people gives us a unique opportunity to showcase our nation and create a lasting legacy.

“We are introducing Wales to the world, inviting them to learn more about us, our culture, our people, and welcoming them into Tim Cymru.

“The campaign features stories from Wales, featuring authentic voices from across our communities.

“They are stories that’ll make people feel something about us, and make people want to be part of what we’ve got going on in Wales.”

Qatar has been criticised for its stance on same-sex relationships – homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state – human rights record and treatment of migrant workers.

But Mr Gething said the Welsh Government was committed to promoting “Welsh values” in Qatar, including human rights and same-sex relationships.

“As a Government, we have been clear we will proactively use Wales’ place in the World Cup in Qatar to promote our strong Welsh values,” Mr Gething said.

“In Wales, we are passionate about human rights and workers’ rights and believe that people should be free to live as their true authentic selves.

“We will continue to proudly advocate Wales’ approach to human rights, LGBTQ+ rights, political and religious freedom, inclusive education and fair work.

“This is an opportunity to promote Wales, but we also have an obligation to explain why we believe these values should be recognised.

“The management team, players and the FAW have all spoken out on these issues and they have the full support of the Welsh Government in promoting our values as a nation.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford will be attending the US match on November 21, while Mr Gething will watch the England game on November 29.