German soccer club Hoffenheim skips World Cup coverage

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FILE – Iranian Football Association President Mehdi Taj, left, and former Iran national team captain Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh stand next to the FIFA World Cup after their unveiling during the trophy tour, at the Milad Tower auditorium in Tehran, Iran, Thursday. 1, 2022. German football club Hoffenheim will miss this year’s World Cup finals in Qatar. The club announced on Thursday, 22 September 2022, that it will not provide any coverage for this year’s World Cup. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

AP

German football club Hoffenheim will miss this year’s World Cup finals in Qatar.

The club announced on Thursday that it would not provide any coverage of the tournament due to the difficulty of providing what it says is “urgently needed analytical commentary in the context of sporting events” in the Middle Eastern country.

Hoffenheim provided photo and text articles focusing primarily on its players in the major leagues, but the club said in a statement that it would “dismiss this type of reporting” across all media for this year’s event.

The Bundesliga club noted the “questionable conditions of the awarding process, the disastrous conditions on the stadium construction sites, the devastating impact on the climate, and the framework conditions required to hold an event like this in the desert at this unusual time.”

The World Cup, which is traditionally held in June and July, will start on November 20 and end on December 18 this year to avoid the sweltering heat in the country.

“But the main focus is on human rights abuses and discrimination against homosexuals in the authoritarian Gulf state,” Hoffenheim said in its statement.

On Monday, the Qatari ambassador to Germany urged the abolition of his country’s sanctions on homosexuality during a conference hosted by the German Football Association.

Federation President Bernd Neuendorf also called on the Qatari government to establish work centers that migrants can go to in case of employer violations, and a compensation fund for relatives of workers who died or were injured on World Cup construction sites.

“We simply do not want to cover this World Cup in a nice way,” Hoffenheim said. “We have to put it clearly in context with an assessment of the surrounding circumstances and a comment on the latest developments.”

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