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Pair named as Wales ambassadors for World Cup in Qatar

14 Nov 2022 3 minute read
Colin Jackson. Picture by Ludovic Péron (CC BY-SA 3.0). Laura McAllister (Credit: FAW).

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.

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.”

‘Open’

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.”

‘Welsh values’

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.


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Ivor Schilling
Ivor Schilling
22 days ago

Woke overload, you say? We think alike…

Gaynor Jones
Gaynor Jones
21 days ago
Reply to  Ivor Schilling

They are brilliant ambassadors and amazing people

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
21 days ago
Reply to  Ivor Schilling

They are great ambassadors and fine people. But Qatar is an oppressive regime that deserves no ambassadorial activity. What do you think is “woke” about two intelligent, successful sports stars representing Cymru at a global sporting event. Is Ian Rush attending ALSO “woke”? We definitely do NOT think alike. If anything I am puzzled how anyone could think this is somehow “woke”. Is it because Colin is gay and because Laura is a woman? Do you think gay people and women should not be permitted representation? What is it about people who are different to you being represented that terrifies… Read more »

Last edited 21 days ago by Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
John
John
21 days ago

It seems to me practically every TV programme produced by BBC Wales that requires an opinion on Wales (Welsh elections, Welsh Government policy, Welsh football) Laura McAllister is there. And now she’s off to Qatar to represent us. Is there anything she can’t do?

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
21 days ago
Reply to  John

She’s pretty impressive, agreed. A senior professor, an international footballer, a high level sports administrator advising government on public policy and a trained economist. She also speaks the language of our nation.
But apparently she can’t please Ivor Schilling above who thinks her appointment is somehow “woke”.

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
21 days ago

‘Welsh values’? I really do object to that. LGBTQ+ people deserve fundamental human rights no matter where they are. I’m glad I can live freely and openly in Wales – but those rights come from decades of activism and persecution across Europe and the world. Wales has no special claim over those hard-won rights.

Brian
Brian
21 days ago

I am an active supporter of LGBTQ+ rights and fundamentally believe that diversity in work and society makes us all better off. Unfortunately, Laura McAllister is rather dogmatic when it comes to middle-aged men in suits. She believes in diversity as long as it doesn’t involve middle-aged men in suits. As a middle-aged man (sometimes in a suit) I feel this is a direct attack on me, even though I passionately believe in diversity. I and other middle-aged men are singled out for criticism by Laura.

Riki
Riki
21 days ago

Bit of a surprise that Michael Sheen wasn’t asked to do it. Would have made a great choice!

George Thomas
George Thomas
21 days ago

“When people see Wales, they will see our values.” But our values aren’t fixed. We have values as a developing nation we aspire to, but it would take me 30 seconds to (within a football context) find tweets trying to disparage our value of “together stronger” and (not in football context) show articles about nazi symbols being spray painted onto war memorials which makes mockery of what we want to be as a nation. We need to do the work to make ourselves a forward thinking, welcoming, ambitious community and nation. These ambassadors are good choices to show the best… Read more »

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