Klopp: Media failed to hold FIFA to account for Qatar World Cup

Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp lamented the fact the World Cup will be held in Qatar and said the media should have done more to hold FIFA to account.

The tournament is due to begin on November 20 after Qatar won the right to stage it in controversial circumstances 12 years ago, when FIFA also announced Russia as the 2018 hosts.

Those decisions came under heavy scrutiny amid allegations of corruption within world football's governing body, which has since undergone a reshuffle following the exit of embattled former president Sepp Blatter.

Critics have cited several reasons why Qatar is not a suitable host nation, with its human rights record, treatment of migrant workers and laws against same-sex relationships of particular concern.

For its part, FIFA has urged competing nations to "focus on the football", but that will do little to assuage the fears of the tournament's most impassioned critics, which includes human rights organisations such as Amnesty International.

Klopp felt it was too late to effect any change now and suggested the media should have done more and acted sooner to prevent the situation from unfolding the way it has.

"I watched an old documentary about the whole situation when it got announced that Russia and Qatar are the places for the next two World Cups," he said on Friday.

"I think it was the first time in history that they announced two in one. And the whole situation around it, we all know how it happened and how we still let it happen and no legal thing afterward. It was still hidden everywhere. And you think, wow, how could that all happen?

"It's 12 years ago and now it's here and it's coming. It has nothing to do with Qatar, they won the World Cup and it's now it's there.

"We talk about human rights in a sense of the people who have to work there in circumstances, which are, say it nicely, difficult. So, we couldn't play the World Cup there in the summer, because of the temperature. It's now pretty hot. And there was not one stadium in Qatar or maybe one.

"They have to build stadiums and nobody thought about that. I don't think everybody mentioned it that day. That is what makes you angry. How can it not? Again, I watch it from a football point of view and I don't like the fact that now players from time to time get in a situation where they have now to send a message.

"You are all journalists; you have should have sent a message. You didn't write the most critical article about it or not about it because it's Qatar.

"Now it's there and I'll let them play the games. Let them just play the games...and don't put Gareth Southgate constantly in a situation where he has to talk about everything. I'm not a politician who has an opinion. And he's not a politician.

"He's the manager of England, let him do that and if you want to write something else about it, then do it but by yourself without asking us and all these kinds of things. And Klopp said and Southgate said, and all these kinds of things as if it will change anything. We all, you more than I, let it happen 12 years ago."

Klopp continued to rail against the lack of intervention when the tournament was first awarded and conceded this would be "different from other World Cups".

"Do you really think that we did enough in the first place? Now making a story of it when it's happened...and getting players under pressure questioning these kinds of things," he said.

"Things are organised by other people and I don't say you let it happen. But we all let it happen. At that time, everything was on the table. Everything was on the table. It was that long ago when we really could have sorted it.

"It's not to say anything about Qatar. They won the World Cup. I can understand for whatever reason, it's fine. I want a lot of things and don't get them and carry on with it. I will watch games, of course. But yes, it is different from other World Cups."