It may be a friendly, but there will be considerable international interest in the Republic of Ireland's match against Qatar next Tuesday in Hungary.

The 2022 World Cup hosts have been included as a sixth, quasi member of Group A and Stephen Kenny's team will play them twice as they strive to qualify for the tournament being hosted in the Gulf State next year.

The next edition of the FIFA showpiece is shrouded in controversy however, not least due to the abysmal working conditions endured by the largely migrant labour force tasked with building the stadiums and infrastructure required.

A report in The Guardian calculated that at least 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since the country won the right to stage the 2022 World Cup 10 years ago.

Now, following protests by the players of Norway and Germany - and planned protests by the Dutch team - attention has turned to the Irish players and whether they intend to take their own stand in Debrecen.

When asked by RTÉ Sport if the FAI was aware of any plan by their players to protest, or whether they would try to prevent one from happening, an FAI spokeseperson emphasised the association's non-political approach but said they would continue to debate 'societal issues' at board level.

"The Football Association of Ireland is aware of the debate around the issue of migrant workers in Qatar in the context of the staging of the FIFA 2022 World Cup Finals Tournament," they said.
"As a National Governing Body, the FAI focuses on our sporting role and is non-political in our approach but of course we will always be aware of, and sensitive to, broader societal issues and we will continue to debate these issues at Board level and with our players at the appropriate time.

"Our immediate focus is on the World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday."

Defender Dara O'Shea, speaking to the media ahead of the Luxembourg game, said a protest is not something the players have contemplated yet.

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"At the moment it's something that we haven’t spoken about collectively. We’ve got a big game Saturday so we’ve got a big focus on that but it possibly is something that we would be willing to speak together about," said the West Brom defender.

Norway captain Martin Odegaard believes players are exercised by the human rights situation.

"I have the impression that a lot of (players) are interested in this, care about it and want to do something to try and contribute in a good way," said the Real Madrid attacker, currently on loan at Arsenal.

Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt confirmed the team would be making a statement of their own ahead of Saturday's home game against Latvia.

"We have talked about it for a long time, it is a sensitive subject but I think it is clear what our opinion is," said the Juventus man.

"Everyone has read about the situation (with workers) in Qatar, of course, but we've started talking and discussing it since the heightened media reports. In the end, we all made the decision and everyone support it."

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Qatari World Cup organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), said they had "always been transparent about the health and safety of workers".

"Since construction began in 2014, there have been three work-related fatalities and 35 non-work-related deaths," the spokesperson added.

"The SC has investigated each case, learning lessons to avoid any repeat in the future. The SC has disclosed each incident through public statements and or Annual Workers' Welfare Progress Reports."