Soccer-Hoffenheim website will not cover World Cup over human rights issues


FILE PHOTO: Workers are seen inside the Lusail stadium which is under construction for the upcoming 2022 Fifa soccer World Cup during a stadium tour in Doha, Qatar, December 20, 2019. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

BERLIN (Reuters) - Bundesliga club Hoffenheim's media department will not run any stories on the World Cup in Qatar due to the country's record on human rights violations, it said on Thursday.

Qatar, which will host the World Cup from Nov. 20-Dec. 18, has faced intense criticism from human rights groups for years, especially over its treatment of migrant workers, who along with other foreigners comprise the bulk of the country's population.

Homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state while Human Rights Watch says Qatari laws discriminate against women and LGBT individuals.

The club's media department said while in past World Cups it had regularly provided Hoffenheim fans with coverage, especially in relation to the club's international players, it would not be doing so this time.

It said providing the coverage could not come without discussing the major non-sporting issues such as human rights.

"All these aspects play a role in not wanting to just simply inform in a carefree manner," said the club in a statement.

"A celebratory description based purely on the sporting aspect, solely based on goals and performance without looking at the wider picture where this so-called football festival will be held is in our opinion not allowed.

"But we cannot deliver these necessary analytical comments for the coverage of the sporting event from many thousands of kilometres away."

The government of Qatar has said its labour system is still a work in progress but has denied accusations made in an Amnesty International 2021 report that thousands of migrant workers were being exploited.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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