England’s Harry Kane calls for collective response to Qatar human rights record

England striker Harry Kane has said he plans to speak with other national team captains to organise a unified approach to highlighting human rights issues ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.

England manager Gareth Southgate held a 30-minute meeting with his squad on Tuesday to discuss a variety of controversies surrounding the tournament, including the treatment of migrant workers, the host country’s poor human rights record and backward stance towards the LGBTQ+ community.

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Southgate said last week it would be “horrible” and “a great shame” if some supporters do not feel safe enough to travel to the Gulf state for the finals starting in November.

Kane, who has captained England since 2018, said he intends to speak to contemporaries of other countries — Tottenham Hotspur teammates Hugo Lloris and Son Heung-Min captain France and South Korea respectively — to organise a collective stance.

“As players we didn’t choose where this World Cup was going to be,” Kane said. “But what it has done is it has shone a light on important issues which might not have come to light if the World Cup wasn’t there.

“We have to try to help as much as possible to understand the issues and the situations. We’re no experts in that field at the moment in terms of what we know but as always we try to help in any way we can, we try to use our platform to help in any way we can.

“I understand there has been some progress on certain issues in the country so far. What my hope is that having the World Cup there and having this light on the country will help try and progress some of the issues which have been going on for a long time.

“There’s a couple of other national team captains in my team at Tottenham, maybe [I will be] talking to other national team captains to see whether we can be unified in what we try and do and approach it. That’s something myself and some of the senior players in the team will look to try to achieve over the coming months.

“There’s still a lot of progress to be made. But hopefully all of us, like we have done in the past, can try to make change with the platforms that we have.”

Speaking about England players airing their views during Tuesday’s gathering, Kane added: “We had that meeting last night and I think it was important to talk with the manager and the staff and the players.

“Obviously we wanted to qualify for the World Cup before doing that and we’ve done that. So it was our first chance to have that chat. Gareth led that meeting and we spoke about what to expect and some of the important issues which are surrounding the World Cup.

“For us now as players it’s important to talk among ourselves — not just this camp but the camps going forward as well in June. I feel as a group we’ve never shied away from important issues, and we’ve always had our opinions and tried to show unity in anything we’ve done. That’s what will happen now over this camp and the next camp to try to help in any way we can to support those issues.”