World Cup: South American nations back Fifa message to end ‘disagreements and fights’ over Qatar

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The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) echoed Fifa’s message of focusing on the football at the World Cup in Qatar, saying the time has come for “disagreements to take a back seat” with the tournament kicking off in two weeks.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino said the sport should not be dragged into “ideological or political battles”, a message that Conmebol has got behind despite European nations urging the world soccer governing body to act on migrant workers’ rights.

“The Conmebol and its ten Member Associations calls on the football world to support the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022,” Conmebol said in a statement on Monday.

“This message (of sport) is powerful because it is universal, it goes far beyond political or ideological disputes, temporary disagreements and occasional confrontations.

“The time has come for disagreements and fights to take a back seat, let the games begin for all citizens (to) enjoy an all-embracing celebration, so eagerly awaited by our planet.”

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In 2019, Conmebol had invited Qatar to take part in the Copa America as one of two Asian teams in the 12-team tournament alongside Japan.

Conmebol’s statement comes a day after Football Associations of 10 European countries published an open letter to take action and improve the rights of migrant workers in Qatar.

The host country has come under intense pressure over its treatment of foreign workers, restrictive social laws and LGBTIQ rights, leading to many teams participating raising concerns, although the country has denied claims that workers were exploited.

Angelica Medina for Reuters

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