Real Madrid and Germany midfielder Toni Kroos has sharply criticised 2022 World Cup host nation Qatar in the wake of several European teams protesting about conditions in the Emirate state.
"I think the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar was not a good thing for several reasons," said 31-year-old midfielder Kroos in his podcast Einfach mal Luppen [Just Lob It], which he co-hosts with his brother Felix.
"The first reason is the conditions of the workers... then the fact that homosexuality is penalised and punished in Qatar... and also that it is not a football country.
"Many Qatari workers, but also foreigners, work without a break, in temperatures that can reach 50 degrees [Celsius].
"They sometimes suffer from a lack of food or drinking water, which is madness in those temperatures. They have no medical coverage and there is a certain amount of violence against these workers.
"These are points which are completely unacceptable."
Kroos's comments came after the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Norway all protested by wearing T-shirts with messages such as 'Human Rights' or 'Football supports change' before World Cup qualifiers over the last week.
Several players confirmed the protests were aimed at Qatar.
Qatar has faced criticisms for its treatment of migrant workers, many of whom are involved in preparations for the 2022 World Cup, with campaigners accusing employers of exploitation and forcing labourers to work in dangerous conditions.
Qatari authorities insist they have done more than any country in the region to improve worker welfare.
Kroos, who helped Germany win the 2014 World Cup, explained why he is against a boycott of the 2022 finals and said footballers should use their platform to call for change in Qatar.
"The visibility of the World Cup may draw even more attention to these problems" and "a boycott would probably not change much about the situation for the workers there", Kroos added.
On Tuesday night Qatar sidestepped questions about human rights protests by other countries following their friendly against the Republic of Ireland.
The Qatar team also refused to take a knee before the match, a gesture that has been used by players to show support for the movement for racial equality since last June.
When Qatar's Spanish coach Felix Sanchez Bas was asked after the Ireland game why his players did not take a knee, and what he made of the human rights protests, the Qatar FA press officer interjected to say: "Let me answer this. First there was an agreement between us and the Irish FA and regarding the human rights, we respect that and the International Labour Organisation are aware of the progress in our country. Thank you."
Sanchez Bas then added: "I repeat the same answer my colleague said. Also I have to tell you I am a national team coach and I am here in a press conference from one football game and that's what I am going to talk about because that's why I am here."