Eric Cantona slams Qatar World Cup over treatment of migrant workers

By Amreen
Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup between 21 November and 18 December this year
Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup between 21 November and 18 December this year / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Eric Cantona has claimed that he will not watch the Qatar World Cup this winter and slammed the country over the treatment of migrant workers.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been condemned for their treatment of migrant workers ever since they were awarded the competition in 2010. There have been multiple allegations of corruption and maltreatment of migrant workers.

A report from the Guardian last year claimed more than 6000 migrant workers, from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, died while helping construct the stadiums for the tournament which is scheduled to take place between 21 November and 18 December this year.

Speaking exclusively to Sportsmail, former Manchester United man Cantona pulled no punches in his assessment of the World Cup host nation.

He said: "To be honest, I don't really care about the next World Cup, which is not a real World Cup for me. In the last decades, you had a lot of events like the Olympic Games or World Cups in countries that are emerging - like in Russia or China.

"But Qatar - it's not the country of football. I'm not against the idea of hosting a World Cup in a country where there is a possibility to develop and promote football, like in South Africa or the United States in the 90's.

"Football is the most popular feminine sport in the United States, there is a lot of South American immigration, and a big potential for the sport to develop. In fact, now in the United States, the sport which has the most licensed people is football. But in Qatar, the truth is that there is no such potential. There is nothing. It's only about money I think.

"It's only about money and the way they treated the people who built the stadiums, it's horrible. And thousands of people died. And yet we will celebrate this World Cup. Personally, I will not watch it. I understand football is a business. But I thought it was the only place where everybody could have a chance.

"And I still think that young players can grow up in a very poor area - most players come from poor areas. And they become footballers and have a chance to save themselves and save their family which is great. And if you are good, you are good. It's a meritocracy - if you're better than the next guy, you will play and it's fair.

"So it's why, maybe, if meritocracy and potential is the essence of football, it's even more surprising that we can organize a World Cup in Qatar, and people actually voted for that."