Liverpool legend John Barnes launched a surprising defence over Qatar hosting the World Cup by calling out the double standards from fans and former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
World Cup organisers FIFA have faced mounting criticism over their decision to award the tournament to Qatar, making them the first Middle East country to host the competition.
Qatar’s appalling human rights record, outlawing homosexuality and allegations of bribery and corruption have led to scathing criticism worldwide amid the World Cup.
According to reports, England fans who were wearing ‘offensive’ crusader costumes were turned away from entering the stadium for Friday’s 0-0 draw with the USA.
The Times reports that FIFA said the crusader costumes in the “Arab context can be offensive against Muslims.”
“You look at the situation like the crusader debate and the way that crusaders are viewed in that part of the world,” he said.
“It’s very similar if someone was to come to a football match and wear a Nazi uniform.”
Barnes also slammed the moral virtue of western countries criticising World Cup hosts Qatar while former UK PM Johnson compared veiled Muslim women to ‘letterboxes.’
'If you knew the way crusaders are viewed in that part of the world, it's very similar if someone who came to one of our football matches and wore a nazi uniform'— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) November 25, 2022
Three Lions icon @officialbarnesy believes you should respect the laws of that country pic.twitter.com/xUH2RAxZtE
The 59-year-old former Liverpool man insisted that actions in football such as taking the knee, which England are doing at the World Cup, won’t change perspectives.
“What the Qatar World Cup is doing is inviting everyone to come but just be respectful of our culture, religions and laws,” Barnes said.
“They have relaxed a lot of the laws -- look at the drinking laws.
“You can drink but the fact that you can’t drink in a stadium for 90 minutes we’re trying to beat them with a stick, as much as they have relaxed the drinking laws, can we not do that after 90 minutes?
“Is football changing perspectives here because players took a knee? No. You have to look at it from an institutional, societal, moral intellectual, colonial point of view.
“I believe that if you go to somebody’s country -- because we are saying the same thing for people who come here [to the UK] who may not believe in our laws -- they have to respect our laws when they're here.”
Featured Image Credit: Good Morning Britain's Twitter/Alamy