Robbie Williams defends controversial choice to perform at Qatar World Cup: ‘It would be hypocritical for me not to go’

British popstar will sing at this year’s World Cup, despite criticism from fans

Inga Parkel
Friday 18 November 2022 17:50 GMT
Robbie Williams to perform at World Cup opening ceremony

Robbie Williams has commented on his decision to perform at the Qatar World Cup, claiming that it would be “hypocritical” of him not to.

While other British singers including Dua Lipa and Rod Stewart, have refused to sing at this year’s World Cup, Williams has remained steadfast in his decision to perform, despite mounting criticism from Twitter users.

Stay informed with live updates on the Qatar World Cup here.

In an excerpt from Williams’s interview with Italian newspaper Il Venerdì di Repubblica, scheduled to be published next month, the “Angels” popstar defended his choice, saying: “Anybody leaving messages saying ‘no to Qatar’ are doing so on Chinese technology.

“It would be hypocritical of me to not go [to Qatar] because of the places that I do go to.”

Williams continued: “You get this microscope that goes ‘okay, these are the baddies, and we need to rally against them’. I think that the hypocrisy there is that if we take that case in this place, we need to apply that unilaterally to the world.

“Then if we apply that unilaterally to the world, nobody can go anywhere.”

Robbie Williams

The 48-year-old further explained: “What we’re saying is: ‘You behave like us, or we will annex you from society. Behave like us, because we’ve got it right.’

“Of course, I don’t condone any abuses of human rights anywhere. But, that being said, if we’re not condoning human rights abuses anywhere, then it would be the shortest tour the world has ever known: I wouldn’t even be able to perform in my own kitchen.”

Since Fifa announced that Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup, there has been an enormous backlash due to Qatar’s history with human rights abuses, mainly in regard to migrant workers and the LGBTQ+ community. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, with offenders facing fines and up to seven years in prison.

In its latest controversy, Qatar World Cup has banned alcohol around stadium sites at the tournament in a major late U-turn.

The 2022 World Cup will begin on 20 November, with the final game on 18 December.

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