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'I think that's wrong' - Real Madrid and Germany star Kroos criticises awarding of 2022 World Cup to Qatar

9:42 AM EDT 3/31/21
Toni Kroos, Alemania
The midfielder, a world champion in 2014, doesn't think the country should be staging the tournament, although he stopped short of backing a boycott

Toni Kroos says "it's wrong" that Qatar were given 2022 World Cup hosting rights after seeing the dangerous conditions workers have had to endure in preparation for next year's competition.

Germany have been among several countries to stage protests against alleged human rights violations in Qatar before their World Cup qualifying matches this month.

A report from The Guardian in February painted a damning picture of working conditions and stated that more than 6,500 migrant workers have died in the Gulf State since they were named as tournament hosts 11 years ago, with Kroos insisting the situation is "absolutely unacceptable".

What has been said?

The Real Madrid midfielder was particularly unhappy over reports that workers are subjected to very long hours in hot conditions without enough food and water.

"I think it's wrong that this tournament was given [to Qatar]," Kroos, who was unable to link up with Germany during the current international break because of injury, said on his brother Felix's podcast Einfach mal Luppen.

“Immigrant workers are subjected to days without rest with the temperature under a torrid 50 degrees, they suffer from insufficient nutrition, without drinking water and at crazy temperatures. All of these points are absolutely unacceptable."

However, Kroos does not think the problem will be solved by a proposed boycott of Qatar 2022, adding: "Would a boycott serve to improve working conditions? I think not. Football always arouses extreme attention. Be it before the tournament or during it.”

What have FIFA and Qatar said?

Football's main governing body have given no indication that the tournament could be moved to another country, while insisting that proper safety procedures are being followed on site.

"With the very stringent health and safety measures on site, the frequency of accidents on FIFA World Cup construction sites has been low when compared to other major construction projects around the world," the world governing body's statement reads.

Meanwhile, Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) - the organisation responsible for providing the infrastructure for the World Cup - have stated: "We have always been transparent about the health and safety of workers on projects directly related to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

"Since construction began in 2014, there have been three work-related fatalities and 35 non-work-related deaths. The SC has investigated each case, learning lessons to avoid any repeat in the future. The SC has disclosed each incident through public statements and or Annual Workers’ Welfare Progress Reports. 

"Preparations for the first FIFA World Cup to be held in the Middle East and Arab world have already brought significant benefits to workers on SC and non-SC projects in Qatar.

"These include significantly improved accommodation facilities, the provision of electronic medical records and comprehensive medical checks, innovative heat stress mitigation plans, extensive training and upskilling programmes and a guarantee from SC contractors to reimburse USD $30m+ in illegal recruitment fees to 48,883 SC and non-SC workers.

"With less than two years until the tournament begins, we will continue to use this opportunity to deliver sustainable change and leave a meaningful legacy beyond 2022."

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