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First Minister Mark Drakeford to attend Qatar World Cup despite expected Labour snub

22 Oct 2022 3 minute read
First minister of Wales Mark Drakeford during the Labour Party Conference at the ACC Liverpool. Picture by Peter Byrne / PA

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford is still expecting to travel to the World Cup in Qatar despite expectations that the UK Labour Party will snub the tournament.

It is understood the party is not planning to send any kind of delegation to the games, which begins on November 20, and will not be formally represented in Qatar.

Last week, it was reported that Lucy Powell, the party’s shadow culture and sport secretary, received an invitation from the Qatari government but turned it down.

This follows concerns over the treatment of construction workers and the criminalisation of same-sex relationships in the country.

On Saturday, the Welsh Government indicated there had been no change in its position since comments made by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething to the Welsh Parliament on September 27.

Mr Gething told the Senedd that he, Welsh Labour leader Mr Drakeford and Dawn Bowden, the deputy minister for Arts and Sports and the Chief Whip, would attend events at the World Cup “to promote Wales and engage in diplomacy”.

They are expected to watch each of Wales’ group games against the USA, Iran and England, as well as others depending on the progress of the team in the tournament.

During his statement, Mr Gething acknowledged there were “significant challenges” with the World Cup being hosted in Qatar, citing its human rights and workers’ rights records, and some LGBTQ+ fans not travelling there.

He said: “We will use our platform as an opportunity to express our values and to demonstrate that Wales is a nation of values on the world stage.”

Criminalised

A Welsh Government spokesman said on Saturday: “We are proud that Wales will be competing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

“We believe that it is better to engage with countries that do not always share our values on human rights, LGBTQ+ rights, workers’ rights and political and religious freedom.

“Engaging with countries provides an opportunity to develop a platform for further discussion, to raise awareness and to potentially influence a change in approach.”

The Welsh Government first indicated that its position on attendance had not changed to WalesOnline.

Last week, the Mail on Sunday reported that Ms Powell would not be travelling to the tournament.

Ms Powell said: “Of course, I am looking forward to the World Cup and I’ll be cheering England on.

“But we cannot avert our eyes from the problems in Qatar.

“Dozens of construction workers have been killed putting this tournament on.

“And LGBT England and Wales fans are having to put up with the tournament being played in a country where their sexuality is criminalised.

“I’m excited to cheer on the England team from my sitting room and from my local pub.”

Speaking ahead of the tournament, Liz Ward, director of programmes at Stonewall, said the value of inclusion had never been more critical.

“As we approach the 2022 Men’s World Cup, we must remember that Qatar is a country where LGBTQ+ people are persecuted simply for being themselves,” she said.

“Sadly, this year’s tournament is not safe for everyone, which is why it’s so important to see players and fans stand up to be counted.

“The World Cup is a vital moment for the global sporting community to stand up and call out the criminalisation and persecution of LGBTQ+ people in Qatar.”


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Gareth Westacott
Gareth Westacott
1 month ago

There goes a man of principle.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

Indeed. I think he said something like “…..and this week my new principles are ….” Can’t let some minor issues get in the way of a good jolly, can we?

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
1 month ago

jaw Jaw is better than War War

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
1 month ago

Glad he can spare the time!! Not much going on back home at the moment for him to be concerned about then!!

David
David
1 month ago

Will M.D. be joining in the singing of Yma O Hyd.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Too busy swotting up on the variety of repression techniques in use in Gulf States. Just checking what might work well back in Wales.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

It is a bit of an own goal for top Welsh politicians to be going in an official capacity. If the three of them were going as individual football enthusiasts in the own time at their own expenses it might not be so bad.

I don’t think they will learn anything useful about repression techniques. After all we have now seen that the Police here are under the direct control of the Crown, not the Senedd.

Phil
Phil
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

The cost of their trip could have subsidised quite a few energy bills….

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Monarchy have subjects (us). Slave owners had slaves. In the case of death without a will the Monarchy (crown/state) inherits everything!

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

Just shows how isolated we are by these people being the only politicians attending. I suppose no other politicians will attend, and the fact that the RAF and RN will supply official security for the world cup has nothing to do with the UK Gov. or its policies in this part of the world. Criticise if we are alone, otherwise accept we are part of the political world.

Phill
Phill
1 month ago

To make their trip worthwhile I’m expecting an absolutely huge boost in exports of welshcakes and laverbread.

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