Roy Keane slammed the World Cup in Qatar for "dismissing human rights"
The treatment of the LGBTQ+ community, migrant workers and women in Qatar has come under the spotlight since the country won the bid to host the world’s largest football event – with many people calling for the tournament to be boycotted.
On Tuesday morning, Roy – a former player for Manchester United and seen as one of the top Irish footballers in history – told ITV viewers: “The World Cup shouldn’t be here, you shouldn’t be here.”
Speaking ahead of the Group C game between Argentina and Qatar while broadcasting from the host country, Roy also touched on the allegations that Fifa was bribed to let Qatar hold the tournament.
“It’s been mentioned about corruption regarding Fifa... you’ve got a country and the way they treat migrant workers, gay people...”
“I think it’s great that it’s being brought up – they shouldn’t have the World Cup here,” he said, adding: “You can’t treat people like that.
“We all love football, we all love soccer and we’re on about spreading the game but just to dismiss human rights, forgetting it because there’s a football tournament...it’s not right. It shouldn’t be here.”
Roy added: “We’re talking about common decency, how you treat people. Let’s get back to basics, treating people with decency, you’ve got to start and finish with that.”
"The World Cup shouldn't be here, you've got a country and the way they treat migrant workers, gay people. We're on about spreading the game but dismissing human rights, it's not right. It shouldn't be here."
Powerful words from Roy Keane about the World Cup in Qatar pic.twitter.com/lAUbItPC0Z
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) November 22, 2022
His comments followed on from fellow commentator Graeme Souness, who suggested it was impossible to “live in a perfect world”.
Graeme claimed Qatar would be hoping critics would now be focused on the game at hand.
“They’ll be praying that football’s a great tournament and that people will only be talking about that going forward, but I’m afraid, there are so many activists out there, they will forever be talking about Qatar and their human rights record.
“But that’s a fact of life, they have to deal with that. And by having a World Cup here, we have a chance to put certain things right, but they’re not going to put everything right.
“We don’t live in a perfect world, no-one lives in a perfect world.”
There have been calls for more activism around the World Cup, but there was disappointment when England, Wales and five other countries decided not to wear the OneLove armband in Qatar this week.
This armband is seen as a symbol of inclusion, which would have been interpreted as a small sign of protest against Qatar’s human rights record.
But, the captains of each team were threatened with a yellow card by Fifa.
Keane later said he thought the players could have worn the armbands for the first game and taken the punishment “whatever that might be”.
“Do it for the first game, you get your yellow card, what a message that would have been from Kane or Bale. Take your medicine, and then the next game, you move on.
“You don’t wear it because obviously you don’t want to be suspended.
“I think it was a big mistake, I think both players particularly when we are talking about Wales and England, they should have stuck to their guns and done it, whatever pressure outside of their own associations. If that’s what you believe, go with it.”