While the dust is settling on Australia’s World Cup campaign, former star Tim Cahill remains under fire for remaining mute on human rights issues in Qatar with a new video showing the retired Socceroo walking away from questions on the issue.
The Socceroos bowed out in the round of 16 at the World Cup after losing 2-1 to Argentina on Sunday [AEDT] and were supported by Cahill throughout the tournament.
Cahill does not look impressed at the line of questioning and a female voice interjects off camera
The PR representative and Cahill then walk away from the interview with no reply except for a curt ‘thank you’
Cahill is the chief sports officer at Qatar’s Aspire Academy, which gave the Socceroos quality accommodation and training facilities for the World Cup despite being the last team to qualify.
Cahill was also named as a a member of the Qatar World Cup’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy along with former England and Manchester United star David Beckham for the tournament.
Qatar has an atrocious human rights record with an estimated 6500 migrant workers dying during the World Cup construction phase.
The country also enforces harsh penalties for homosexuality, including imprisonment.
To date, Cahill has remained mute on those issues while lapping up the corporate hospitality of the gulf nation.
Now SBS News Chief International Correspondent Ben Lewis has released vision of Cahill ducking the issue directly.
‘Before the World Cup began, I managed to secure a brief interview with @Tim_Cahill. He happily answered my first two questions. This is what happened when I asked Australia’s Head of Delegation if he supported the Socceroos’ human rights video,’ Lewis posted, accompanied by a video.
Cafu, Idris Elba, Samantha Johnson, Reshmin Chowdhury and Tim Cahill pose for a photograph during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 finals draw
The footage plays out like this:
Ben Lewis: ‘The Socceroos put out that video a few weeks ago talking about human rights … ‘
Woman interrupts: [inaudible]
Ben Lewis: ‘I can ask that question.
Tim Cahill: ‘Thank you’
Ben Lewis: ‘Can I ask would you support that?’
Then Cahill and the woman, a PR representative working for the event sponsor, walk away from the interview.
‘We were told by Football Australia that Cahill would be happy to speak later in the week and he “wasn’t trying to avoid answering questions”. We mentioned that fact in our story that day,’ Lewis continued.
‘He was scheduled to do a press conference later that week. But it was cancelled at short notice due to scheduling issues. We asked repeatedly to see if a new time could be found, to no avail.
Ajdin Hrustic, Tim Cahill, Garang Kuol and Thomas Deng of Australia are seen prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group D match between Australia and Denmark
‘Anyway, the interview/presser sadly never happened. After the Socceroos made R16, Cahill released a self-shot video message talking about the result. We didn’t use it, given the many requests we had made to speak with him were rebuffed.
‘We were told that when games started, he wanted the focus to be on the current players- totally fair.
‘Now Australia’s brilliant run has ended, we’d still love to hear his views on working for Qatar’s organising committee and the Socceroos’ stance on human rights issues.’
Cahill celebrates scoring their first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian Playoff match between the Australian Socceroos and Syria at ANZ Stadium
It comes after several pundits called for Cahill to speak out against the human rights issues in Qatar, including former Socceroo and current analyst Craig Foster.
‘I would love for Tim Cahill to have spoken out and to say something now – and I hope that he does so,’ Foster told Daily Mail Australia.
‘The difference between the two is that David has created as part of his brand, has been seen as a close ally of the LGBTI community.
‘Then he has refused to say anything about the criminalisation of the LGBTI community in Qatar.
Australia’s 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 has said nothing, whether it’s the migrant workers, the LGBTI community, women’s rights and other things.
‘So Tim is in the vast position as the vast majority of former players and I would love all of them to speak out, including Tim.
‘I think they have a responsibility to do so.