Prince William MAY go to World Cup if England reach final

Prince William MAY go to World Cup if England reach final despite questions over Qatari hosts’ human rights record

  • Prince William may go to the World Cup in Qatar if England reach final on Dec 18
  • He had ruled out attending the tournament due to a ‘busy winter schedule’ 
  • It comes amid questions over Qatari hosts’ controversial human rights record 

Prince William may look at travelling to the World Cup in Qatar if England reach the final. 

The Prince of Wales, who is president of the Football Association, ruled out attending today due to a ‘busy winter schedule’.

However, it is understood his office may look at making arrangements if England reach the final on December 18.

World cup hosts Qatar have faced increased scrutiny over its treatment of minorities, with the Australian team becoming the first World Cup squad to release a collective statement criticising host Qatar’s human rights record.

Prince William with his son, Prince George, and the Princess of Wales at the Euro final football match between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium in London last July

The Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar (pictured), will host seven matches during the World Cup, up to the round-of-16 stage

Some 16 players, including ex-Arsenal and Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan, appear in the video in which they draw issue with the country’s treatment of migrant workers and the LGBTQ+ community.

Same-sex relationships are illegal in Qatar due to its strict Islamic rulers.

It has also emerged that Amnesty International has urged Fifa to pay at least £350 million of compensation to Qatar stadium workers for the ‘human rights abuses’ they have been subjected to.

Prince William has long been a staunch advocate for LGBTQ rights. In 2016, he became the first royal to appear on the cover of gay magazine, Attitude.

He told the magazine at the time: ‘No one should be bullied for their sexuality.’

As FA President, he had been expected to attend the games next month with England’s first match against Iran scheduled for November 21. 

But a Kensington Palace spokesman said the prince had no plans to attend the World Cup, which begins on November 20, adding ‘we hadn’t planned to go due to the busy winter schedule’.

Visitors take photos with a Fifa World Cup sign in Doha ahead of the tournament which starts on November 20

William is still expected to follow England’s progress closely and is likely to use social media to get behind the team.

He supported the England women’s team during their victorious run in the Euro 2022 tournament and presented the players with their winning medals after they beat Germany in the final at Wembley.

Veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell, who said he was arrested after staging the first LGBT protest in Qatar, interpreted William’s decision as a snub to World Cup hosts and urged celebrities and foreign governments to follow his leadership.

Tatchell added: ‘Everyone should stay away to signal their opposition to the despotic tyranny in Doha and to stand in solidarity with Qataris who are striving for democracy and human rights.

‘The suggested excuse that Prince William’s decision is because of a diary clash is implausible, given that the dates of the World Cup have been well known for over a year.’

FIFA awarded the World Cup to Qatar in 2010 and it has since spent tens of billions of dollars on preparations ahead of the competition that kicks off on November 20.

But the energy-rich Gulf state has faced constant scrutiny over its treatment of foreign workers as well as its poor record on LGBTQ and women’s rights.

A replica of the Fifa World Cup trophy pictured in the Souq Waqif traditional market in Doha

‘Since we won the honour of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has ever faced,’ emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said in a speech.

‘We initially dealt with the matter in good faith, and even considered that some criticism was positive and useful, helping us to develop aspects of ours that need to be developed,’ the emir told Qatar’s legislative council.

‘But it soon became clear to us that the campaign continues, expands and includes fabrication and double standards, until it reached an amount of ferocity that made many question, unfortunately, about the real reasons and motives behind this campaign,’ he said.

Qatar’s World Cup organisers have stepped up assurances in recent weeks that all fans would be ‘welcome’ at the World Cup. 

FIFA has said that LGBTQ rainbow flags would be allowed in and around stadiums.

England’s Harry Kane is one of several captains of European teams who have said they will wear ‘OneLove’ arm bands at World Cup games to highlight rights concerns.

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