Qatar 2022: Germany's interior minister to attend game
Doha, Nov 02: Amid the ongoing debate about Qatar's human rights record and the upcoming World Cup, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said she will attend Germany's opening match against Japan on November 23.
The left-leaning politician said she made the decision after receiving reassurances on human rights issues during a visit to the host country Qatar.
Faeser, whose portfolio includes sport, confirmed on Tuesday that she would be at the match despite the tournament being mired in controversy ever since Qatar was given the rights 12 years ago.
The oil-rich nation has come under intense international pressure over its treatment of migrant workers and restrictive social laws, with Human Rights Watch describing the preparations for the event as "deadly."
Faeser said Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al-Thani had issued safety guarantees for visiting fans, with sources from the German delegation saying this applied especially for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Faeser said she wanted to ensure "that everyone from Germany who comes here for the World Cup, no matter where they come from, no matter who or what they believe in, or no matter who they love, is also safe here in Qatar."
Football star Lahm not attending
Former German national team captain Philipp Lahm has already confirmed he won't be attending international football's most prestigious event.
"I am someone who likes to travel to countries where you are always warmly welcomed, no matter who you are," Lahm told broadcasters Pro Sieben. "I am someone who values fan culture, who is happy when a nation has or develops such a culture. That's why I won't be there as a fan," Lahm said.
"A World Cup must not be awarded to such countries that do not comply with the criteria."
Some German bars refuse to show games
Meanwhile, some bars in Germany have vowed not to show matches taking place in Qatar.
"Too many human rights were violated and from an ethical standpoint, I can't justify it," Fanny Delaune, owner of "Babel" sports bar in the western city of Bonn, told news agency Reuters.
Tobias Epping, who owns the "Die Wache" bar in the same city, will also do the same., citing "the number of workers killed."
"Not just me but also my regular customers who I asked to vote on Facebook and Instagram decided not to show the World Cup because there was a point when we said 'enough'," he said.