As the dust settles on Australia’s World Cup campaign, former star Tim Cahill remains under fire for remaining silent on human rights issues in Qatar with a new video showing the retired Socceroo walking away from questions on the issue.
The Socceroos pulled out in the round of 16 of the World Cup after losing 2-1 to Argentina on Sunday [AEDT] and were supported by Cahill throughout the tournament.
Cahill looks unimpressed with the line of questions and a female voice chimes in off-camera
The PR rep and Cahill then walk away from the interview with no response other than a brief “thank you.”
Cahill is the sporting director of the Aspire Academy in Qatar, which provided the Socceroos with quality accommodation and training facilities for the World Cup, despite being the last team to qualify.
Cahill was also appointed as a member of Qatar’s Supreme World Cup Delivery and Legacy Committee along with former England and Manchester United star David Beckham for the tournament.
Qatar has an abysmal human rights record with around 6,500 migrant workers dying during the construction phase of the World Cup.
The country also enforces harsh penalties for homosexuality, including imprisonment.
To this day, Cahill has remained silent on these issues while enjoying the hospitality of the Gulf Nation’s businesses.
Now, SBS News chief international correspondent Ben Lewis has posted a view of Cahill directly dodging the issue.
“Before the start of the World Cup I managed to get a short interview with @Tim_Cahill. He was happy to answer my first two questions. That’s what happened when I asked the chef from the Australian delegation if he supported the Socceroos human rights video,’ Lewis posted, along with a video.
Cafu, Idris Elba, Samantha Johnson, Reshmin Chowdhury and Tim Cahill pose for a photo during the draw for the final of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
The images go like this:
Ben Lewis: ‘The Socceroos released this video a few weeks ago talking about human rights…’
The woman interrupts: [inaudible]
Ben Lewis: “I can ask that question.
Tim Cahill: “Thank you”
Ben Lewis: “Can I ask you if you support this?”
Then Cahill and the woman, a public relations representative working for the event’s sponsor, walk away from the interview.
“Football Australia told us that Cahill would be happy to speak later in the week and that he was ‘not trying to avoid answering questions’. We mentioned that fact in our story that day,” said continued Lewis.
“He was supposed to do a press conference later that week. But it was canceled at short notice due to scheduling issues. We repeatedly asked if a new time could be found, to no avail.
Ajdin Hrustic, Tim Cahill, Garang Kuol and Thomas Deng of Australia are seen ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group D match between Australia and Denmark
“Anyway, the interview/press sadly never happened. After the Socceroos made R16, Cahill posted a self-shot video message talking about the result. We didn’t use it, given that the numerous requests we had made to speak to him were turned down.
“We were told that when the games started he wanted the focus to be on the current players, which is absolutely fair.
“Now that Australia’s brilliant run is over, we would still like to hear his views on the work for the Qatar Organizing Committee and the Socceroos’ stance on human rights issues.”
Cahill celebrates his first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers match between the Australian Socceroos and Syria at ANZ Stadium
It comes after several pundits called on Cahill to speak out about human rights issues in Qatar, including former Socceroo and current analyst Craig Foster.
“I would like Tim Cahill to come out and say something now – and I hope he does,” Foster told Daily Mail Australia.
“The difference between the two is that David created as part of his brand, was seen as a close ally of the LGBTI community.
“Then he refused to say anything about the criminalization of the LGBTI community in Qatar.
Australia coach Graham Arnold (L) talks to former Australian footballer Tim Cahill during a training session at the Aspire Academy in Doha
“From Tim’s perspective, he really didn’t say anything, whether it was migrant workers, the LGBTI community, women’s rights and other things.
“So Tim is in the vast position of the vast majority of former players and I would like them all to speak out, including Tim.
“I think they have a responsibility to do that.