Deschamps suggests talking about World Cup worker death is 'disrespectful'
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Ryan Benson
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Didier Deschamps was asked about the worker death on Friday
Didier Deschamps was asked about the worker death on Friday

France head coach Didier Deschamps suggested talking about the death of a World Cup migrant worker during the tournament is "disrespectful" to the deceased's family.

A report in The Athletic on Wednesday claimed a Filipino man thought to be in his early 40s died while working at the base of the Saudi Arabia team during the group stage.

Qatar 2022 CEO Nasser Al Khater extraordinarily responded to the news a day later by saying "death is a natural part of life" as he was left irritated by the topic being brought up during "a successful World Cup".

It was seen as particularly noteworthy in the media due to the broader context of worker deaths in the lead up to the World Cup.

Amnesty International in 2021 published a report citing official Qatari data in which the organisation claimed 15,021 migrants died in the country "in the past 10 years". There was no suggestion all were connected to the World Cup.

Such reports helped to shine a light on the conditions of migrant workers in Qatar, and some of the teams involved in the World Cup have been forthright on the matter, with England's Football Association applying pressure on FIFA on the eve of the tournament regarding the rights of labourers.

But Deschamps was uncomfortable with the subject being broached in his pre-match press conference ahead of France's quarter-final against England on Saturday, adamant players do not have the influence to help fix problems outside of the sport.

"Well, it's always a sensitive topic, it's not something I want to talk about at length. I just learned about [the latest death] and want to express my sincere condolences to the family," he said.

"It might be a priority for [the media], but my priority is the match; we're in a tournament. That doesn't mean we are insensitive to what goes on outside football, but we shouldn't mix everything up.

"The French players took certain decisions. What else would you like me to say? You asked a question but knew what I was going to reply.

"I'm not trying to avoid the question. I'm here with my team, we're footballers and here for a football tournament.

"Footballers unfortunately are not in a position to resolve problems outside football. This is more than a problem, it's someone who's lost their life.

"Maybe you think talking about this is respectful, but talking about him is not going to help. I think for his family, the pain and suffering they're going through, this could be disrespectful, too."

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