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World Cup 2022: Wales players must raise Qatar ‘issues’, says Joe Morrell

Joe Morrell
Joe Morrell has been capped 30 times by Wales

Joe Morrell believes players must “raise the issues Qatar has had” when they represent Wales at the World Cup.

Midfielder Morrell, 25, is part of the Wales squad who start the tournament against USA on 21 November.

Qatar has been criticised for its stance on same-sex relationships, human rights record and treatment of migrant workers.

“We have a very switched-on squad who are more than happy to talk about these subjects,” Morrell said.

“I think the FAW [Football Association of Wales] have done a brilliant job with that. I think we are not going to be naïve enough just to go out there and get on with it.

“We have had meetings about it. I think it’s important that we do raise the issues Qatar has had.”

Fifa, football’s world governing body, has written to the 32 teams involved in the World Cup asking them to “focus on the football” following a controversial build-up to the tournament.

England manager Gareth Southgate has said it is “optimistic” to expect competing nations to concentrate solely on football, while former Fifa president Sepp Blatter called the decision to award the World Cup to Qatar a “mistake”.

FAW chief executive Noel Mooney has said Wales’ players will be supported if they “speak up” about human rights during the tournament.

“We are going there for a World Cup to do a job,” Portsmouth player Morrell told BBC Radio Solent.

“That’s our main focus of course, but we understand there are a lot of issues that we feel Qatar need to do a bit better with.

“We are the ones in the spotlight and it will be our job to highlight those issues and work with the FAW.

“I think that is our responsibility because I think there have been well-documented issues.

“As players we have got to try to find the balance between being professional and doing our job – we want to make a mark on this World Cup – but also highlighting the issues and being a voice that people can look up to and maybe try and inspire a bit of change.”

Morrell is heading to his second major tournament having played every game for Wales at Euro 2020.

He has praised the FAW for communicating with Page’s players about the situation in Qatar.

“I was fairly well informed before – I try to keep myself as up to the date with the world as much possible,” he added.

“Of course, every country in the world has issues, it’s just that these are a little more high profile and a bit more serious.

“The FAW has done a brilliant job of educating us and making sure we know exactly what we are going into and the questions we might face out there, which is fantastic from them.”