Sweden cancel winter break training trip to Qatar after club opposition

September 8 – Sweden have cancelled their annual training trip to Qatar next year after “unanimous” opposition from the Swedish top tier clubs. 

The Swedish have staged a Doha training camp every January since 2019 with home-based players making the trip to Qatar.

“The whole concept of the January tour is based on the Allsvenskan clubs being willing to release their players to us as it does not happen at international so-called FIFA date. After a good conversation with SEF’s chairman Jens Andersson last night, it is clear that there is a united opinion among the clubs that they do not want the camp to take place in Qatar.

“As the whole approach is based on agreement with the clubs, we will look at other alternatives. What is clear is that the January tour will not be in Doha, Qatar,” said the general secretary of the Swedish FA Håkan Sjöstrand in a statement.

The Swedish FA didn’t explicitly indicate the decision was taken over human rights concerns in Qatar, but wrote that “the advocacy work we have done in Qatar on human rights and the situation of migrant workers will continue.”

Ever since the inauguration of the Aspire Academy on the outskirts of Doha, the Qatari capital has hosted camps for clubs and national teams from across the world, with Bayern Munich’s winter camps among the most high profile.

“The January tour is sportingly important to us and we will work to ensure that it can take place elsewhere next year. Several players have taken the step from being on the January tour to the A national team in recent years. It is a very good preparatory activity for young players that we hope will continue for many years to come,” said Sweden’s national team director Stefan Pettersson.

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