Lord Austin: Kicks Iran out of World Cup and replaces them with Ukraine
The former MP for Dudley North said it was an “outrage” and an “utter farce” that Fifa awarded the World Cup to the “medieval dictatorship” of Qatar.
And he said England’s first opponent Iran would have to be sent off from the tournament before a ball was kicked – their place given to war-torn Ukraine.
England are due to face Iran on November 21 in the competition, which is mired in controversy amid allegations of corruption during the bidding process and concerns over Qatar’s record in matters of human rights.
Lord Austin told TalkTV: “The idea of the World Cup being held in Qatar is an absolute farce.
“This World Cup is in Qatar, the last one was in Russia. Where will they go next, China? North Korea? I think it’s an outrage.
“Our football authorities should push for reform in the international game. Our first match we will play against Iran.
“What is Iran doing during the World Cup? Sport is meant to be about freedom, bringing the world together and celebrating excellence.
“It’s hosted in a medieval dictatorship and we’re playing another medieval dictatorship in the first game.
“Iran should be expelled immediately and its place should be given to Ukraine.”
Earlier this year, Lord Austin raised the issue in a speech to the House of Lords where he called for “urgent reform” in the management of international football.
He said: “It is completely unacceptable that Qatar could bribe their way to host the World Cup this year, with their appalling record on human rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights and gender equality. how he exploited the workforce to build the stadiums.”
Iran qualified for the tournament in January after topping their group, while Ukraine missed out after losing to Wales in a play-off.
Qatar was granted World Cup hosting rights by Fifa in 2010, despite concerns over its treatment of migrant workers and allegations of slavery.
Last week, an ambassador for the country said in an interview that homosexuality was a “damage to the spirit”.