Robbie Williams defends decision to perform in Qatar during World Cup | World Cup 2022

Robbie Williams has defended his decision to perform in Qatar during the World Cup, arguing that it would be “hypocritical” not to go.

The singer, 48, has been criticised on social media for agreeing to sing during the tournament, which begins on Sunday night, due to the country’s human rights record, stance on homosexuality and treatment of migrant workers.

Other musicians including Dua Lipa and Rod Stewart have recently stated that they will not perform there.

But in an excerpt from Williams’s interview with Italian newspaper Il Venerdì di Repubblica, scheduled to be published next month, the former Take That member said: “Of course, I don’t condone any abuses of human rights anywhere.

“But, that being said, if we’re not condoning human rights abuses anywhere, then it would be the shortest tour the world has ever known: I wouldn’t even be able to perform in my own kitchen.”

He added: “Anybody leaving messages saying ‘no to Qatar’ are doing so on Chinese technology. It would be hypocritical of me to not go [to Qatar] because of the places that I do go to.”

Williams is scheduled to perform at Doha Golf Club in Qatar on 8 December.

He said: “You get this microscope that goes ‘OK, these are the baddies, and we need to rally against them’. I think that the hypocrisy there is that if we take that case in this place, we need to apply that unilaterally to the world.

“Then if we apply that unilaterally to the world, nobody can go anywhere.”

The singer added: “What we’re saying is: ‘You behave like us, or we will annex you from society. Behave like us, because we’ve got it right.’”

Amnesty International has called on Williams to use his concert to publicly address the accusations against Qatar.

Last weekend, Rod Stewart said he refused a substantial offer to perform in the country. He told the Sunday Times: “I was actually offered a lot of money, over $1m, to play there [Qatar] 15 months ago. I turned it down. It’s not right to go.”

Last week, Dua Lipa denied reports that she will perform at the opening ceremony of the World Cup. The singer wrote on social media that she will “look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made” when it became the tournament’s host.

‘One more go for the blokes’: Skinner and Baddiel record festive Three Lions track | World Cup 2022

Frank Skinner and David Baddiel have released a reworked, festive version of their 1996 football anthem Three Lions, ahead of the 2022 men’s World Cup beginning on Sunday.

Discussing the release of the track, the pair said that although their famous refrain “football’s coming home” had become redundant after victory for the England women’s team earlier this year, they would give it “one more go for the blokes”.

“We could not resist the fact that the World Cup was at Christmas, and people have said in the past that football songs are a little bit tacky, and obviously Christmas songs are a bit tacky,” Skinner told the One Show on Thursday.

“In maths two negatives make a positive, so we think there’s so much tacky in this that it’s going to be a classic.”

Baddiel added: “The Lionesses brought it home, football came home and some would say that’s the end of the song, stop singing it. But we decided to give it one more go on the basis that the blokes have not brought it home.”

The men’s tournament, taking place in Qatar, is due to run from 20 November until 18 December.

The music video shows Skinner and Baddiel dressed in Christmas jumpers while superimposed next to their younger selves, and decorating a tree with Lioness baubles while singing.

Part of the new lyrics are: “The blokes seem cursed whatever they try and I think I know why, they’re just jinxed in July.

“But it’s December … three lions on a sleigh. With she-lions inspiration, Santa says, ‘Let’s play’.”

Speaking about the performance of the Lionesses, who won the Euros after defeating Germany in July, Skinner said: “The fact is, the best I’ve ever seen an England team play was this summer and it was the Lionesses.

“It wasn’t like: ‘Oh yes we’ve got to support the women’s game’ – no, this was brilliant football.”

Three Lions was first released by Skinner, Baddiel and Ian Broudie in 1996, becoming a popular British song at major international football competitions since.

England’s first game in the 2022 World Cup is due to take place on Monday against Iran.