France captain Hugo Lloris says politicians are giving them too much pressure to protest at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The tournament, which starts in Qatar on 20 November, has been surrounded by controversy, with several European teams planning protests at the tournament.
The captains of England, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Netherlands agreed to wear one love armbands to protest against the Qatari government’s stance on same-sex relationships.
Denmark announced that they will wear “toned-down” shirts in protest against the reported human rights violations in the Middle Eastern country.
France will also not screen the World Cup matches in public areas in all cities, despite Les Bleus being the defending champions.
Speaking at a presser this week, Lloris suggested that all these planned protests are part of the politicians’ plan to condemn World Cup hosts Qatar.
“There’s too much pressure on the players. We are at the bottom of the chain,” the Les Bleus skipper said.
“If you have to apply pressure, first of all it had to be 10 years ago. Now it’s too late. You have to understand that for players this opportunity happens every four years and you want every chance to succeed. The focus has to be on the field. The rest is for politicians. We are athletes.”
Lloris’ sentiments come a week after FIFA wrote to all 2022 World Cup-bound teams, urging them to focus on football and avoid dragging the sport into politics.
“Please, let’s now focus on the football!” president Gianni Infantino said in the letter.
“We know football does not live in a vacuum and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all around the world.
“But please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists.”- Soccer24 Zimbabwe