Manchester United midfielder and Portugal international Bruno Fernandes was delighted with his side’s 2-1 win over Fulham on Sunday but less so with the timing of the World Cup, which begins next weekend in Qatar, necessitating a six-week Premier League break.
The 28-year-old told Sky Sports that the timing of the tournament, which usually takes place in June and July but has been shifted to the cooler temperatures of December in Qatar, was off-putting for players and fans alike.
“Of course it’s strange, It’s not exactly the time we want to be playing in the World Cup. I think for everyone, players and fans, it’s not the best time. Kids will be at school, people will be working and the timings will not be the best for people to watch the games,” he said.
The decision to award the tournament to Qatar has provoked widespread criticism, with concerns expressed over labour laws and human rights in the country.
“We know the surroundings of the World Cup, what has been in the past few weeks, past few months, about the people that have died on the construction of the stadiums. We are not happy about that at all,” Fernandes said, flanked by team mate and Denmark international Christian Eriksen.
“We want football to be for everyone, everyone has to be included and involved in a World Cup because a World Cup is for the world. It’s for everyone, it doesn’t matter who.”
Eriksen echoed the sentiments of Fernandes but said that players had a limited ability to influence political decision.
“It starts and it’s football, no matter where it is. It’s football, we qualified and we’ll play,” the Dane said.
“A lot has been written, there’s a lot of focus on how it’s happened and why it’s in Qatar. I don’t agree with how it’s happened but we’re footballers and we play football. Change has to come from somewhere else,” he added.
The Premier League resumes on Dec. 26.