Football World Cup in Qatar 2022: Liveblog for the group stage

Formula 1 driver Vettel calls homophobic statements by World Cup ambassadors “outrageous”

Sebastian Vettel is hosting the World Cup in Qatar in light of the homophobic comments made by a Qatari World Cup ambassador for wrong. “If statements like those of the World Cup ambassador are made, then we simply shouldn’t go to Qatar! The saying was more than backward-looking. The sport, the whole association should say: This is not the right place to do sport there,” said the four-time Formula 1 world champion of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (weekend edition) in an interview before the last Grand Prix of his career on Sunday in Abu Dhabi.

Khalid Salman, who is one of the official ambassadors of the World Cup tournament that begins in Qatar on Sunday, said in a ZDF documentary that being gay is forbidden because it is mentally harmful. “That is not how it works! That is outrageous!” said Vettel. Salman later described his homophobic statements as “taken out of context”.

Vettel demanded that the sport should give itself a binding moral code. “There it is then precisely determined what the basic political requirements must be for sport to be allowed to take place in a country. Certain things and certain countries are simply no longer there. Too much is too much,” said the 35-year-old. “And then we say no as Formula 1 or FIFA. And don’t just nod politely and take the money or help us with any other perks the country might offer.”

Vettel suggested that associations get involved in the implementation of Human rights issues should be checked by external bodies. “Formula 1 has set itself the goal of being climate-neutral by 2030. Nice and good. But why not have it checked by an independent and critical body along the way? And then live with the consequences and possible penalties, whatever they may look like?” said Vettel. “What happens if Formula 1 takes a wrong turn on the way to climate neutrality and doesn’t meet its own demands? Or FIFA on the way to more equality and diversity? Unfortunately, at the moment it is like this: Formula 1 controls Formula 1, and Fifa controls Fifa.”

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