International football teams have come together to show their solidarity with the migrant workers in Qatar in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup 2022. There are widespread allegations of deaths of workers related to World Cup venues refurbishment.
The Denmark national football team joined Germany, Netherlands and Norway in protest against the alleged human rights violations in Qatar due to the construction of football infrastructure in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Media reports suggest that more than 6500 migrant workers from South Asia have died in ill working conditions since 2010, involving the construction of World Cup infrastructure. Migrants make more than 90% of Qatar’s population.
What has been the message so far?
Denmark players donned jerseys with the message “Football supports Change” as the teams lined up for the team photograph against Moldova in the World Cup qualifiers. The Denmark FA added that all the shirts would be up for sale, and the revenue generated will be outsourced to the migrant workers in Qatar.
The Netherlands football team also echoed the exact words in their game against Latvia.
Norway players also wore t-shirts with the message “Human Rights, on and off the pitch” before their game against Gibraltar.
Earlier German players lined up in T-shirts with the combined message of “Human Rights” in their game against Iceland.
With the World Cup in Qatar a year away, players and coaches feel it is too late to boycott the event and focus on spreading awareness about Qatar’s conditions.
We have the World Cup coming up, and there will be discussions about it… we wanted to show we are not ignoring that,said Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka.
It is ten years too late for a boycott. At the time, we should have thought that the World Cup was awarded to Qatar in 2010,admitted Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder Joshua Kimmich.
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, on the other hand, believes a boycott isn’t the solution. According to him, it would just mean turning their backs to the problem.
Response from Qatar
However, Qatari authorities insist they have done more than any country in the region to improve worker welfare and say they have “always been transparent about the health and safety of workers”.
Qatar has announced several changes in its labour laws, including breaking the bond between workers and owners while shifting jobs.
“Since construction began in 2014, there have been three work-related fatalities and 35 non-work-related deaths,” a spokesman for Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy claimed in a statement.
Response from FIFA
FIFA believes in the freedom of speech and the power of football as a force for good. No disciplinary proceedings about this matter will be opened by FIFA,it told AFP.
Social scientists across the world have praised the actions of the players and coaches so far.
It’s very commendable of these teams to take a stance, and I think they’re doing it in a way that’s respectful and positive,said Nicholas McGeehan, a researcher at labour rights campaign group Fair Square.
I think anyone who genuinely cares about the game and the issues these players are raising would agree that what’s happening is extremely positive.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar will kick-off in the winter months of 2022 and has been a centre of controversy surrounding corruption which involves former president Sepp Blatter and his deputy Jerome Valcke. The allegations of human rights violations in Qatar is just another brick in the wall as far the event is concerned.