Liverpool have “received assurances” over welfare concerns ahead of their trip to Qatar for the Club World Cup, with further information for supporters.
The Reds will head to Doha next month to participate in the Club World Cup following their success in the Champions League in June.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side will play two games: a semi-final on December 18 and, depending on the result of that clash, either a final or third-placed playoff on December 21.
This has caused disruption to the Reds’ schedule in both the Premier League and the League Cup, but more importantly, the trip to Qatar has raised issues over the country’s human rights and inclusivity problems.
The club have released an information pack for supporters travelling to Qatar which includes guidances on laws and customs, dress codes (particularly for women) and public displays of affection, along with advice for LGBT fans.
A link to a UK government portal providing travel advice warns that “homosexual behaviour is illegal in Qatar,” which is clearly one of the biggest concerns ahead of the tournament.
But speaking in a thorough—and clearly well-prepared and well-rehearsed—interview with LFCTV on Monday, Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore stressed that “no stone has been left unturned” in ensuring all fans are welcomed:
“It goes without saying that along with the team itself, supporters are at the forefront of our thinking.
“I think one of the priorities for Qatar has been to speak to our supporters, to listen of course to their concerns, and to address them wherever possible.
“We’ve sought and received assurances that our LGBT supporters will be welcome in Qatar—something that was vitally important to us as a club given our long-standing commitment to both equality and diversity.
“We’ve sought and received information on hotel provision, match tickets, stadium readiness, safety issues, cultural matters and a whole host of other issues.
“In fact, no stone has been left unturned.
“We’ve engaged with a range of organisations, including supporter bodies, LGBT pressure groups, trade unions, the UK foreign office, NGOs, human rights experts, FIFA.
“Wherever there’s a knowledge and experience and understanding, we’ve looked to tap into it.
“Now all of this work has been done with the aim of giving our supporters and ourselves the best possible understanding for Qatar, and I’d like to thank all of those that have contributed during this process, because their input has been invaluable.”
According to The Athletic‘s David Ornstein, Liverpool have already rejected FIFA’s offer to stay in the Marsa Malaz Kempinski for the tournament, after it emerged in 2018 that the hotel had employed migrant workers who were “operating in breach of labour laws and earning salaries below the minimum wage.”
Moore added that the club have “received a number of assurances from the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy in Qatar who, to be fair, have been very receptive and responsive to everything we have said.”
He was asked how Liverpool’s involvement in the tournament could influence change in Qatar, but stressed that “we have to have the humility as a football club [to acknowledge] that we’re a football club first, second and last”:
“We’re not a political organisation, and it’s neither our place nor ambition to go from country to country, forcing our values and our beliefs on others.
“We have our own standards and our own responsibilities to ensure that we live up to them, and that anyone we work with, whatever level, is aware of them.
“But anything beyond that would be misplaced.
“If the involvement of our football club, or any other football club for that matter, helps prompt positive change, then I would be the first to welcome that.
“But that shouldn’t be the measurement of our involvement.
“As with every other country we visit, we’ll be respectful to our hosts, we’ll endeavour to conduct ourselves and perform in a manner in keeping with the Liverpool way.
“We will act in the best interest of our supporters, and we will do our very best in each and every one of those fronts.
“But in that respect, I’m confident that the prep work we have done gives us the best chance possible of achieving all of these objectives.”
Moore referenced the guidance provided for supporters, which is available on the club’s official website, but added that “there’s still some information that we’re waiting on.”
Liverpool had already announced their allocation for the Club World Cup, with just 600 tickets available to fans for the semi-final, and 900 for the third-placed playoff and final double-header.