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Bennett urges World Cup boycott

Published 10/04/2015

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said England should boycott the 2022 World Cup
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said England should boycott the 2022 World Cup

England should boycott the 2022 World Cup in Qatar over the country's record on gay and workers' rights, the Green Party leader has said.

Natalie Bennett said England's football team should not travel to the Gulf state for the 22nd edition of arguably the world's biggest sporting event.

Calls for a boycott are growing due to the country's exploitation of foreign workers and alleged corruption surrounding the Fifa bidding process for the right to host the tournament.

Homosexuality is banned in the oil state.

Asked by the Gay Times whether England should travel to Qatar, Ms Bennett said: "Personally no, that's my personal opinion.

"I think there are so many issues around Qatar - gay rights issues, workers' rights issues."

Ms Bennett also said there is a cultural problem within sport as gay athletes rarely come out, and if they do it is usually after retiring.

A way to tackle the problem would be to treat homophobic chants at football matches with the same seriousness a s racism, she said.

"I think very clearly there's a real cultural problem," said Ms Bennett.

"That's why athletes so often have come out after they've finished competing.

"There's a serious responsibility for sport.

"The evidence suggests it's lagging behind because people aren't coming out.

"If there's homophobic chants, for example, it should be treated in the same way as racism."

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