N Ireland v Qatar preview

Date published: Saturday 30th May 2015 5:39

Amnesty International has called for on the Irish to use the game to pressure the Qatari government into improving conditions and rights of the country’s migrant workers who are building the infrastructure for 2022 World Cup.

But O’Neill is refusing to get involved in matters other than football and wants to focus on using the game as prepration for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania in Belfast on June 13.

The Irish boss said: “That is something for the Irish FA to make a decision on, but we certainly wouldn’t have organised a fixture on the basis that we intended to pull out of it.  

“Their (Qatar) name is in the media for various reasons, with the World Cup there in 2022, but I haven’t given it a great deal of thought.

“We are here for football reasons; the game was offered to us and it suited our needs.

“I wouldn’t claim to be educated enough in what’s happening in Qatar to give an honest, accurate assessment of my view but I’m sure between now and 2022 they’ll be playing several European nations.”

O’Neill is resting several players including Steven Davis, Chris Brunt, Gareth McAuley, Chris Baird and Kyle Lafferty but Manchester United defender Jonny Evans will be in the side to face Qatar.

“It says everything about Jonny’s character that he wants to come here and play,” said O’Neill.

“He might have asked for a couple of extra days off around this fixture but he understands that he hasn’t played a lot towards the tail end of the season and he wants to get minutes under his belt versus Qatar and in our closed-doors game against the Republic of Ireland before taking on Romania.

“Everyone knows what Jonny is about and he’s a natural for the captaincy role.”

Evans added: “Not for one minute did I want to miss any training or game time. It’s important for me because we have a big game coming against Romania and all of us need to be right.

“Missing any international feels bad and I’ve been a bit envious of the lads at times in this campaign.”

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