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Hugo Lloris criticises 'pressure' on players to condemn Qatar

Hugo Lloris criticises 'pressure' on players to condemn Qatar

Hugo Lloris has claimed there is "too much pressure" on players to speak out against World Cup hosts Qatar.

The France captain thinks it should be up to politicians rather than athletes to condemn the Gulf state so players can focus on the sport.

The build-up to the World Cup has been dominated by controversy surrounding Qatar's record on human rights and stance on same-sex relationships.

FIFA have written to all competing nations to request that they "focus on football" and Lloris agrees with the stance.

The goalkeeper - who captained France to glory at the tournament in Russia four years ago - said: "Honestly, I agree [with FIFA’s sentiment].

"There’s too much pressure on the players. We are at the bottom of the chain.

"If you have to apply pressure, first of all it had to be 10 years ago. Now it’s too late. You have to understand that for players this opportunity happens every four years and you want every chance to succeed. The focus has to be on the field. The rest is for politicians. We are athletes."

France have been tipped to do well at the tournament but Lloris pointed out that the defending champions at the last three World Cups have been eliminated in the group stages.

He said: "To be the defending champions is not an easy task. If you look at the last three previous champions they struggled a lot and didn’t go through the group stage.

"This is the first target. We have to play at our best and then we know it’s going to be a different competition from the last 16 onwards. In one game, anything is possible."

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