Qatar manager stays silent on players not taking a knee

Felix Sanchez took no questions on the subject and press officer stepped in to answer

Qatar boss Felix Sanchez declined to comment on his players not taking a knee ahead of their friendly clash with the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday evening.

The Spaniard was asked about the move, and the country’s human rights record ahead of next year’s World Cup finals, at his post-match press conference following the 1-1 draw in Debrecen, Hungary.

However, the Qatari press officer stepped in and said: “Let me answer this. First there was an agreement between us and the Irish FA, and regarding the human rights, we respect that and the International Labour Organisation are aware of the progress in our country. Thank you.”

When it was asked if the coach could answer, Sanchez replied: “I repeat the same answer my colleague said.

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“Also, I have to tell you I am a national team coach and I am here in a press conference from one football game and that’s what I am going to talk about because that’s why I am here.”

Players from Germany, Norway and the Netherlands have staged their own protests in recent days amid mounting concern over the death of migrant workers involved in the construction of infrastructure ahead of the finals.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Ireland boss Stephen Kenny said: “There is a clear issue with human rights in the building of stadiums in Qatar and the number of people who have died. You can’t sweep that under the carpet, it can’t be ignored.”