Germany, the Netherlands among troops fighting for human rights ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

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The German Football Association (DFB) opposes boycotting the 2022 World Cup but will come behind the national football team to promise support for the rights of migrant workers in Qatar, said board president Fritz Keller on Friday.

Germany lined up before the kickoff in their first World Cup qualifier against Iceland in Duisburg on Thursday with jerseys with the message “HUMAN RIGHTS”.

Norway organized a similar protest on Wednesday before their match in Gibraltar when their players wore T-shirts with the message: “Human rights, on and off the pitch”.

Denmark’s national squad announced on Saturday that they would organize a protest in support of the rights of migrant workers in Qatar at Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Moldova.

“The players in the men’s national team have decided to highlight the need for change in Qatar,” the Danish Football Association said in a statement.

The Danish association added that the event was organized together with the Dutch squad – which played “Football supports CHANGE” T-shirts for the purpose during hymns before its World Cup qualifier against Latvia at Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on Saturday – “with the possibility of more national teams can follow. “

“Football supports change”

The Netherlands and Norway and Germany talk about Qatar’s human rights record during World Cup qualifier pic.twitter.com/950bQdTM2t

– B / R Football (@brfootball) March 27, 2021

The initiatives come in the wake of a report by the British newspaper The Guardian which says that its calculations showed that at least 6,500 migrant workers had died in Qatar since the country won the right to play the 2022 World Cup 10 years ago.

“We know that the workers who are building the arenas for the 2022 World Cup are working in very difficult conditions. We can not remain indifferent to it and do nothing,” Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt told Dutch media.

“In the coming weeks, we will also work with (player) unions from other countries to discuss joint actions,” he added.

The Norwegian top club Tromso had asked the country’s football federation to consider boycotting the World Cup after The Guardian published its report, but Keller is against such a step.

“Qatar has initiated several reforms, and visible progress has been made – although there are still ways to go – that a boycott could potentially undo,” he said in an interview published on the DFB’s official website.

“I had hoped to push for concrete changes and get them implemented before I assigned the World Cup to a country like Qatar, where there are several things that still need to change,” Keller added.

“Instead, Qatar was awarded the World Cup as a kind of leap of faith in the hope that it could contribute to improvements.”

Belgian boss Roberto Martinez told CNN earlier on Friday that it would be a “big mistake” to boycott the final.

The DFB reiterated the German government’s position earlier on Friday when a spokesman told reporters “the national team is a good part of Germany and therefore it is good when they commit to the values ​​of our liberal democracy.”

Keller added: “We must stand up for our values, which are written in our statutes, and let our voices be heard all the time. If anyone can not gather behind a human rights statement, they must immediately adapt their morals.

“Every player dreams of being able to play for their country in a World Cup from a young age, but at the same time they know, of course, that they do not play with human rights.

“They are non-negotiable and universally applicable, all over the world. This is what national actors have noticed.”

On Thursday, a representative of the Qatari World Cup organizers said that they “have always been transparent about the health and safety of workers”.

“Since the construction (of arenas) began in 2014, there have been three work-related deaths and 35 non-work-related deaths,” the representative added.

“SC has investigated each case and has learned lessons to avoid repetition in the future.”

( Jowharwith REUTERS and AFP)