Qatar World Cup: Hoffenheim website to ignore tournament over human rights issues

The Hoffenheim club website will not run any stories on the World Cup in Qatar due to the country's record on human rights violations, the Bundesliga club announced on Thursday.

Qatar, which will host the World Cup from Nov. 20-Dec. 18, has faced intense criticism from human rights groups for years, especially over its treatment of migrant workers, who along with other foreigners comprise the bulk of the country's population.

Homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state while Human Rights Watch says Qatari laws discriminate against women and LGBT+ individuals.

The club's media department said while in past World Cup tournaments it had regularly provided Hoffenheim fans with coverage, especially in relation to the club's international players, it would not be doing so this time.

Hoffenheim said providing the coverage could not come without discussing the major non-sporting issues such as human rights.

"All these aspects play a role in not wanting to just simply inform in a carefree manner," the club said in a statement.

"A celebratory description based purely on the sporting aspect, solely based on goals and performance without looking at the wider picture where this so-called football festival will be held is in our opinion not allowed.

"But we cannot deliver these necessary analytical comments for the coverage of the sporting event from many thousands of kilometres away."

The government of Qatar has said its labour system is still a work in progress but has denied accusations made in an Amnesty International report that thousands of migrant workers were being exploited.

On Wednesday, the English Football Association (FA) called for families of migrant workers in Qatar who were injured or killed while constructing the infrastructure for the World Cup to be compensated.

The FA also said it is lobbying FIFA for an update on new labour protection laws in the Gulf state and the introduction of a centre to provide advice and help for migrant workers.