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Jan Vertonghen claims he feels 'afraid' and 'controlled' in Qatar

Max Sherry

Published 
| Last updated 

Jan Vertonghen claims he feels 'afraid' and 'controlled' in Qatar

Jan Vertonghen has shed some light on how he feels being in Qatar, admitting he's genuinely 'afraid'.

The former Premier League defender is currently on international duty with Belgium, competing at the World Cup with the hope of finally delivering some silverware as the nation's 'Golden Generation'.

But Vertonghen, like many of the players on the ground in Qatar, has been subject the host country's strict rules.

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With homosexuality being illegal in the nation, the idea of team captains wearing 'OneLove' armbands has caused a stir.

Many skippers, including Belgian star Eden Hazard, have found themselves facing criticism after they opted against wearing the rainbow armbands over fears they could be punished on the pitch.

Now ex-Spurs defender Vertonghen admits he is 'afraid' to speak out on the matter.

"I’m afraid to say something. I wonder whether I will be allowed to play on the field tomorrow," he said in a press conference.

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"That is something I’ve never experienced in football and I don’t want to experience again and it’s not good. We are being controlled.

"Is it too late [for the armband protest]? That is a tough question. I don’t know. If you make a statement now by wearing the armband that means you punish yourself. Now I’m afraid to say anything at all. I’m not comfortable talking about this, to be put on the spot. That is telling you enough.

“I don’t like making a political statement. We’re here to play football and if we can’t do that because of making a statement and saying normal things as no against racism and discrimination then what?"

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Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

The entire German team took a stance against FIFA and Qatar's rules surrounding the 'OneLove' armband, protesting by covering their mouths during a pre-match squad photo.

"The tournament director went to the English team and talked about multiple rule violations and threatened with massive sporting sanctions without specifying what these would be," German Football Association media director Steffen Simon told German Deutschlandfunk radio.

"We lost the armband and it is very painful but we are the same people as before with the same values. We are not impostors who claim they have values and then betray them.

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"We were in an extreme situation, in an extreme blackmail and we thought we had to take that decision without wanting to do so."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Twitter/footballdaily

Topics: Football, Belgium, Qatar, Football World Cup

Max Sherry
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