Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team captain Katie McCabe has confirmed that she will not be travelling to or watching the 2022 Qatar World Cup. She follows England star and Arsenal teammate Beth Mead in speaking out in opposition to the tournament which kicks off on November 20.
The Dubliner referenced her busy fixture schedule as a reason for not engaging with the biggest event in the football calendar, but added that had she been available, she would not have visited the Gulf nation.
“No, I wouldn’t have went,” she told reporters. “What is going on there isn’t great. It’s not a good look for football, but the decision has been made. The World Cup will continue, and hopefully, there won’t be any bad news stories around it and it will just be football played, and that will be it.”
Ireland’s number 11 also said she won’t be tuning in to the games, explaining: “I won’t have time to watch it, to be honest. We are straight back into Champions League football. It’s a fickle thing, what is going on over there, and the whole background around it. For me, if Ireland aren’t in it, I don’t really fancy it, so I think I will be giving that one a miss.”
FIFA has faced widespread criticism for its decision to grant tournament hosting rights to the country due to its ill-treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ people. McCabe, who herself is a queer footballer, has urged competing nations in Qatar to stand in support of the LGBTQ+ community, and praised those who have already taken action.
“The World Cup is a world stage. Obviously, Harry Kane wearing the rainbow captain’s armband will be massive and I think it will raise visibility over the key issues in Qatar right now and I hope other nations do that and take a stand while playing games,” she commented.
McCabe has been a key figure in the Ireland squad for some time now, and earlier this year, she led the side in historically qualifying for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The team is currently at a training camp in Marbella, Spain, preparing for Monday’s friendly against Morocco.
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