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Recent Updates on the 2022 World Cup

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North Korea pulls out of the 2022 Qatar World Cup

According to recent reports, North Korea has stated it will not partake in the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. This news comes after their recent withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympic Games due to coronavirus concerns. The Asian Football Confederation has asked North Korea to reconsider its decision when they were informed last week.

North Korea’s Olympic Committee also mentioned it decided to drop out of the Tokyo Olympics as a precaution against COVID-19. Although South Korea is still hopeful of the North’s participation in the World Cup, it seems they have put a stop to all cooperation with the South and resumed testing of short-range weapons.

The matches for Group H that includes: Korea, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Turkmenistan, DPR are scheduled to take place from May 31 to June 15 2021.

FIFA plans to introduce concussion spotters in the stands

Concussion spotters will be introduced at the World Cup next year. As the name suggests, their job will be to identify possible brain injuries from the stands to help make the game a lot safer and prevent any critical situations. FIFA’S medical director Andrew Massey claims the spotters will work in conjunction with doctors to identify “red flags” of any concussions that might have been missed.

This is the first time such a stance will be adopted across Football and in a major international tournament, even though it is regularly implemented in the NFL and rugby union.

“You need to treat them acutely, first of all, to make sure that they’re safe, and then you need to remove them,” said Massey.

“So all FIFA competitions will have these video replays, all FIFA competitions will have concussion spotters in the stand that will go through all of these, that can relay the information to the team benches if that is needed. And it’ll just make things an awful lot safer.”

Andrew Massey is also a former Liverpool doctor and recalls one of the toughest moments in his career as a doctor. More than often, doctors are put in pressurizing situations when diagnosing a possible concussion because removing a key player could disrupt the outcome of a match. Such a case was witnessed in Liverpool’s game against Newcastle in 2019 when Massey removed Mohamed Salah from the field for concussion.

Salah also appeared in Sportingbet’s list of Europe’s deadliest strikers in the 2019/20 EPL campaign, and he was a crucial asset to the team. Massey admits he had conflicting thoughts about whether to remove Salah or not — given the dire situation of needing to win the league. However, the player’s welfare is the priority.

FIFA and Qatar invite members to discuss human rights and recent protests

Recently, the Norweigan National football team donned t-shirts with the slogan “human rights on and off the pitch” before their World Cup qualifying match to protest.

Human rights organizations have worked on and emphasized the rights of migrant workers in the past. Qatari authorities have also addressed the issues with many developments and reforms that include: removing the exit visa for domestic workers and establishing a non-discriminatory permanent minimum wage, and easing job change procedures.

However, due to constant unrest from the public, FIFA hosted a virtual meeting with several member associations and confederations to discuss their workers’ welfare reforms and human rights in connection to the World Cup 2022 on Monday, May 10. The meeting allowed the members to clarify the facts related to the labor programs and helped the public acknowledge the progress achieved since 2010.