Manchester United legend Eric Cantona is no stranger to giving his honest opinion on issues both on and off the football pitch.
So, in true Cantona fashion, the Frenchman provided a blunt view when asked for his thoughts on the 2022 World Cup being held in Qatar.
The ex-footballer slammed the decision to give the country the honour of hosting the competition.
“To be honest, I don’t really care about the next World Cup,” he explained, adding it was ‘not a real World Cup’ for him.
“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. But Qatar – it’s not the country of football. It’s only about money and the way they treated the people who built the stadiums, it’s horrible.”
The decision to play the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which was made by FIFA in 2010, has been met with severe criticism – namely due to accusations of human rights abuses in the country and alleged vote-buying.
A 2013 investigation by the The Guardian revealed widespread exploitation of labourers helping to build World Cup infrastructure, reporting that extreme heat and workplace accidents had led to high numbers of deaths.
Secondly, Qatar expects the World Cup will add £14 billion to its economy, leading critics to question the drive behind hosting the tournament.
Cantona is not alone in his disapproval of the upcoming tournament in the footballing world, either.
Reports in November suggested Gareth Southgate’s England squad plan to speak out on the issues surrounding the World Cup’s host nation alongside Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.
In November, Wolves and England defender Conor Coady said: “We are not robots, we are humans, we are seeing things in the news that are going on every day."
“But we’ve always said to ourselves over the last year that the most important thing is to get to where we want to be, which is to Qatar, and honestly speak about the situation when the time is right.”