Several European football associations and national teams have joined the fight against Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup. Players from Australia, Denmark, England, Germany, Norway and Sweden have all made statements to protest Qatar’s record on human rights. The Australian team has produced a video calling on Qatar to abolish same-sex laws. It’s the latest in a long list of protests by football players and teams. In the past, players have questioned the rights of migrant workers and fans travelling to the World Cup.
The Socceroos, along with FIFPro, Building and Wood Workers International, and the International Trade Union Confederation have all issued statements to stand with those who support the rights of the migrant workers and LGBTQ+ community. They also acknowledge that the emirate has taken steps to improve the health and safety of migrant workers.
In the past, the government of Qatar has been accused of abusing migrant workers and killing them in construction projects. The country has also faced accusations of bribery in awarding its bid for the World Cup. In a statement, Fifa said that football should not be “dragged” into ideological battles. In a letter to FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Amnesty International called on FIFA to use its leverage to pressure the Qatari government to improve the human rights situation in the country.
One of the most outspoken players on this issue has been Tim Sparv, former Finland captain. He has spoken out about migrant workers’ rights and has been a staunch advocate for reforms. He believes that it is unrealistic to expect players to boycott the tournament.
Another prominent player, Australian national team player Jackson Irvine, has urged Qatar to abolish laws which criminalize same-sex relationships and set up a migrant resource center. He has also stated that he plans to wear a ‘One Love’ armband during games.
The Norwegian national team has also protested against the 2022 World Cup, calling it a “disgrace.” Their players wore t-shirts with the slogan “Human rights – on and off the pitch” when they were on the road to qualifying against Gibraltar. However, the team won 3-0, making them the first European team to qualify for the tournament.
The Danish national team has also spoken out against the World Cup in Qatar, stating that it “represents a denial of rights” for migrant workers. The team’s shirt designs will be toned down, but will include a striking symbol of remembrance for the migrant workers.
Several other European football associations have called on their teams to boycott the tournament, while a survey in Britain shows that almost one third of those surveyed want to boycott England or Wales. British comedian Joe Lycett has also threatened to upload a video of him ripping $12,000 worth of his own money from his bank account.
Meanwhile, the Football Association of Wales has decided to investigate the possibility of creating safe houses for LGBTQ+ supporters. It has also announced that it will consider hosting a World Cup match on a safe ground. The Danish government has also expressed its opposition to the World Cup, stating that it won’t attend.