On Sunday, Wales’ players qualified for the Qatar 2022 World Cup (David Davies/PA) (PA Archive)
Wales’ players will be polled on their opinions on issues surrounding the World Cup in Qatar.
The move comes as England captain Harry Kane plans to meet with other national team captains to discuss how they might handle Qatar’s stance on gay rights and its handling of migrant workers in a “unified” manner.
Male homosexuality carries a prison term, and same-sex marriages are not recognized by the government, while Qatar’s dismal human rights record has been a source of controversy since the Gulf state was controversially given the finals in 2010.
After qualifying for their first World Cup since 1958, Wales and captain Gareth Bale are now part of the discourse.
“There has already been some messaging going on with the Welsh Government about our attitude this morning,” Noel Mooney, chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, said of LGBTQ+ concerns.
“Do the players, in terms of their opinions, use the platform to make their own statements?” We had been in contact with Uefa about this for a long time before we qualified.
“They’ve taken over as our European confederation, communicating directly with the Qatar Supreme Council, which is co-organizing the World Cup with the Qatari government.”
“UEFA formed a working group, which we’ve joined, to share concerns, discuss issues, and do ground visits. To have a better understanding of the issues at hand as well as the country’s laws.
“We’re a pretty open and transparent organization, and we’re looking forward to discussing all of these topics and our positions leading up to the competition.”
“How we’ll connect with Qatar and the rest of the world, but we’ll be working closely with Uefa, the European group, to interact and liaise.”
By defeating Ukraine in the play-off final on Sunday, Wales became the 30th country team to qualify for the 32-team competition.
We only receive 5% of the stadium due to FIFA regulations. It’s not like 5% of the stadium is a lot.
Noel Mooney, CEO of FAW, on the World Cup ticket problem
The story goes on.
Mooney says the belated nature of their qualification has left them facing an “uphill battle” over logistics with their World Cup opener against the United States on November 21 just over five months away.
Mooney told BBC Radio Wales, “We brought our management team in on Monday morning because tickets and accommodation had to be done.”
“Because we are one of the last teams to qualify, we are up against it to get everything done,” says the squad.
“The camp is done as we had to provisionally book it in January. However, getting our followers there is right now at the top of my focus.”
Wales are due to play all three of their group games against England, the US and Iran at the 50,000-capacity Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.
Mooney said: “Fifa protocols means we only get five per cent of the stadium. Five per cent of the stadium is not a whole lot.
“We have to work with Fifa and other angles to try and get as many tickets as we can for our supporters. We’ve got a huge membership (Wales have 25,000 Red Wall members), a huge demand that we saw on Sunday.
“We can feel it from supporters and companies and we should announce information later this week how fans can access tickets.”