By G9ija

French President, Emmanuel Macron has defended his decision to go to Qatar should France advance to the World Cup semifinals on their path to defending their title .

Qatar won the hosting rights for this year’s World Cup in 2010. Due to the extreme heat during the summer, the tournament was moved to the winter months for the first time. However, the country has come under scrutiny for how it won the rights, the condition of the workers building the stadiums over the last 12 years, free speech issues and alleged persecution of LGBTQ people.

Macron, said on Thursday, November 17 that “sports should not be politicized.”

He added that issues about Qatar’s human rights record and the environment were “questions you have to ask yourself when you award the event.”

On Monday, the Élysée Palace said Macron will go to Qatar if the country’s national team makes it to the semifinals, specifying the French president “wrote them a message” to this effect.

France’s title defense begins in the next few days. The squad is in Group D with Australia, Denmark and Tunisia.