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Johnson says ‘we’ – England – have a ‘tough group’ as he meets leader of World Cup hosts Qatar

24 May 2022 3 minute read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Picture by Matt Dunham / PA Wire

Boris Johnson said that “we” – England – have a “tough group” after he was invited to attend the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, used a bilateral discussion with the Prime Minister to invite the British leader to travel to watch the winter global football competition in the Middle East.

England has been drawn in the same group as Iran, the US and the winner of the play-offs between Wales and either Scotland or Ukraine.

The World Cup, which was shifted to November and December due to Qatar experiencing hot weather during the summer months when the Fifa competition is traditionally held, has been dogged by human rights controversies in relation to migrant worker abuses during the construction of stadiums in the country.

Speaking in Downing Street, the Qatari leader said it is a “special year” for his country as host nation.

He said: “I invite the Prime Minister to come and see the World Cup. England have a very strong young team.”

The Prime Minister replied: “Yes. Well, we have got a tough group.”

The Qatari leader said: “A very interesting group. And also, on top, we might have Scotland and Wales as well.”

The invitation comes as Gareth Southgate, manager of the England team, prepares to name his penultimate squad before the World Cup as his side gears up to play four Nations League matches.

In his opening speech welcoming the Emir to London, Mr Johnson said the two leaders will be working together on security, climate change and “tackling the economic problems of the world” as he praised Qatar’s efforts during the Western evacuation from Afghanistan.


Felix Jakens, Amnesty International UK’s head of priority campaigns, said: “Apart from watching the football we’d like to see the Prime Minister using his time at the World Cup to raise the need for Qatar to ensure there’s a lasting human rights legacy from this tournament.

“Thousands of migrant workers have been exploited and many have tragically died to make the World Cup possible, so everyone with influence – from Fifa, to the sponsors, the players and of course political leaders – ought to be pushing for lasting labour reforms in Qatar.

“The World Cup is set to generate 6 billion dollars (£4.8 billion) in revenue for Fifa, and we’ve called on Fifa to set aside at least 440 million dollars (£350 million) for a workers’ compensation fund for the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who’ve suffered human rights abuses in Qatar in these past years.”

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Steve George
Steve George
1 year ago

Actually, for once he’s being honest.(There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write!) He is English and, rightly, he’ll be supporting his country- England.It also reminds us, if we need to be, of the way the tories view the UK.

I’d prefer that to the nonsense with the royals where they each “adopt” one of the 3 countries and pretend they don’t really want England to win.

1 year ago

Don’t see an issue here. The Turkish / Yank born clown is English. Not Welsh. I don’t want anyone to see a connection between him and us. He doesn’t serve us. He has no interest in us. We don’t like him and want him gone. We are not One Nation.

Last edited 1 year ago by Cynan
GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
1 year ago

The fat turd has to have some despotic leader from the other side of the planet correct him.

1 year ago

I agree. England, Iran and Wales/Scotland/the Ukraine is a tough draw for his team.

I fancy Iran to turn them over actually in their crunch game!


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