Prince William may travel to Qatar for World Cup – if England reach the final

Prince William may explore travelling to the World Cup if England reach the final of the tournament being staged by controversial hosts Qatar.

The Prince of Wales, who is president of the Football Association, will not be attending early rounds of the tournament due to a “busy winter schedule” – but it is understood his office may look at making arrangements if England manager Gareth Southgate’s team reach the final.

Qatar has faced increased scrutiny over its treatment of minorities of late – with the Australian team becoming the first World Cup squad to release a collective statement criticising the host country’s human rights record.

Some 16 players, including ex-Arsenal and Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan, appear in the video in which they take issue with the country’s treatment of migrant workers and the LGBTQ+ community.

A Kensington Palace spokesman said the prince had no plans to attend the World Cup, which begins on November 20, adding “we hadn’t planned to go due to the busy winter schedule”.

William is still expected to follow England’s progress closely and is likely to use social media to get behind the team.

He supported the England women’s team during their victorious run in the Euro 2022 tournament and presented the players with their winning medals after they beat Germany in the final at Wembley.

Veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell, who said he was arrested after staging the first LGBT protest in Qatar, interpreted William’s decision as a snub to World Cup hosts and urged celebrities and foreign governments to follow his leadership.

Tatchell added: “Everyone should stay away to signal their opposition to the despotic tyranny in Doha and to stand in solidarity with Qataris who are striving for democracy and human rights.

“The suggested excuse that Prince William’s decision is because of a diary clash is implausible, given that the dates of the World Cup have been well known for over a year.”

James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, came under fire recently after warning LGBTQ+ supporters to be "respectful of the host nation" during the World Cup.

The comments were made the morning after Rishi Sunak was appointed as the new Prime Minister, following Liz Truss' resignation.

According toThe Telegraph, a Number 10 spokesman said of gay fans: “We wouldn’t expect them to compromise who they are and you’ll know the UK has very clear rules around this.

“Qatar’s policies are not those of the UK Government and not ones that we would endorse.”

England captain Harry Kane, 29, is among several team captains who are said to be planning to wear a rainbow 'One Love' armband during the World Cup, in order to make a statement against discrimination.

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