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Louis van Gaal claims playing World Cup in Qatar is ridiculous ‘bulls—’


Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal has lambasted football governing body Fifa and its upcoming World Cup in Qatar, saying that the only reason the sport’s most prestigious tournament is being held in the Gulf nation is to do with money.

Controversy has surrounded the staging of the World Cup in Qatar ever since the decision was first announced in 2010, with human rights organisations including Amnesty International consistently voicing concerns about the treatment of migrant workers in the country.

The tournament has had to be moved to November and December to avoid the intense summer heat, when the World Cup is usually held, causing significant upheaval to the global football calendar.

The Netherlands have already qualified for this year’s tournament by virtue of winning their group in the European qualifiers, joining teams including England, reigning champions France, and highest-ranked squad Belgium.

“We will be playing in a country where Fifa say we are going to help develop football: that is bulls—” Van Gaal said in a press conference ahead of his side’s friendlies against Denmark and Germany. “The tournament in Qatar is about money and commercial interest. That is what matters to Fifa.”

The Dutch failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and so will be making their first appearance in eight years, having been knocked out on penalties by Argentina in the semi-finals of the 2014 edition during Van Gaal’s previous spell in charge.

The 70-year-old also explained that he is part of a commission at the Dutch FA (KNVB) which meets monthly in order to discuss Qatar and the human rights situation in the country.

In 2021, the Guardian estimated that 6,500 migrant workers had died in Qatar while working to prepare for the World Cup, and Dutch, German, and Norwegian players wore pre-match t-shirts showing their support for migrant workers in the country ahead of World Cup qualifying matches last November.

“The KNVB has never been in favour of holding the World Cup in Qatar and of course certainly doesn’t approve of the way in which migrant workers are treated there,” the KNVB said in a statement earlier this year.

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