French president Emmanuel Macron has said “sports should not be politicised”, days after it was announced that he will attend the World Cup in Qatar if France reach the semi-finals.
Speaking in Bangkok, he said issues around the host nation’s human rights record and the environment are “questions you have to ask yourself when you award the event”.
Qatar won the rights for this year’s tournament in a Fifa vote in 2010.
The World Cup has sparked multiple controversies, from the living conditions of migrant workers to the impact on the environment of air-conditioned stadiums and the place of LGBTQ people, women and minorities.
The first World Cup to be held in an Arab country opens on Sunday.
On Monday, the presidential office said Mr Macron will go to Qatar if the country’s national team reaches the semi-finals, specifying that the president “wrote them a message” to this effect.
Last month, the city of Paris said it will not broadcast World Cup matches on giant screens in public fan zones amid concerns about Qatar’s human rights record.
It follows similar moves by other French cities, despite France being the defending champions.