Denmark plans to “criticize” Qatar through “messages on clothes” at the 2022 World Cup

Qatar’s preparations are accelerating less than a year before the opening of the 2022 World Cup, and with some teams guaranteeing their qualification for the tournament, criticism of Doha has increased over the human rights file, which has raised concerns about the tournament’s success and global interest in it.

The five football federations in the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland) are leading a campaign to push Doha and FIFA to improve conditions for foreign workers in the Gulf state, according to AFP.

The issue came to a head last June, when the Norwegian Football Association voted to boycott the World Cup, and delegates eventually voted against it.

During the past days, the Danish national team announced that it plans to take several steps to shed light on human rights issues in Qatar after qualifying to participate in the 2022 World Cup.

The Danish Football Association stated that the sponsors of the national team’s training uniforms will allow the development of messages critical of Qatar, and they will reduce the number of their visits to Doha to avoid any commercial activities that would promote events in the Gulf state, according to Reuters.

On Tuesday, an Amnesty International report said that thousands of migrant workers in the 2022 World Cup host country are trapped and exploited, which Doha denies.

Amnesty’s 48-page report “Correcting the Facts 2021” said that practices such as withholding salaries and charging workers fees to change employers are still prevalent despite labor reforms in 2014.

Qatar has inaugurated 5 stadiums so far, while the sixth “Al-Bayt Stadium” is ready and will be inaugurated with the opening ceremony of the Arab Cup. The Ras Bouaboud and Lusail stadiums, which will host the World Cup final with a capacity of 85,000 spectators, remain to be completed.

Contrary to what is being circulated, the authorities in the capital, Doha, confirm that they have made great efforts, more than any country in the region, to improve working conditions for foreign workers.

These repeated criticisms of the human rights file in Qatar raise questions about its impact on the establishment of the World Championship and the host country.

“uncomfortable”

“It is always uncomfortable for organizers of major sporting events and international federations to raise human rights concerns, whether it is at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar or the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, or As it happened in the World Cup Russia 2018.

However, Ziegler believes in his interview with Al-Hurra channel that the fans “focus only on football.”

“We are against Qatar hosting the World Cup, we thought it was a bad decision,” Danish Federation president Jakob Jensen told AFP.

“This is wrong in many ways. Because of the human rights situation, the environment and the construction of new stadiums in a country with very little stadium capacity,” he added.

Sports journalist Islam Magdy agrees with Ziegler’s words, and tells Al-Hurra that during the last World Cup tournaments, there was always criticism of what happens to workers during the construction of stadiums and facilities, as happened in the 2014 edition of Brazil.

For his part, Qatari analyst, Ali Al-Hail, says that “Amnesty International’s criticism of human rights in Qatar has no evidence to support it,” noting that “these data are written in regional offices without verification on the ground.”

Al-Hail added, in statements to Al-Hurra website, that “Qatar is the best destination for Asian workers,” but he also did not deny that “there are abuses by some companies, but the Qatari government is not responsible for that, and it also holds the companies accountable for their negligence.”

He stressed that these criticisms will not affect the tournament and its holding on time, pointing out that since Doha won the hosting of the tournament in 2010, it has been subjected to such campaigns.

Qatar is scheduled to host the first World Cup in the Middle East between November 21 and December 18, 2022, with 32 teams participating.

newspaper says The GuardianIn a report, it visited seven of the hotels listed on the FIFA Hospitality website, and in interviews and conversations with more than 40 workers, who were employed directly and through contractors, found a number of serious violations of workers’ rights and low wages.

Many workers said they worked very long hours, and some confirmed that they had not had a day off for months.

Deportation of workers during the tournament

Organizers expect an influx of 1.2 million visitors, nearly half of the country’s population.

An investigation was published by the newspaperMail on SundayOn November 14, the British government revealed that Qatar will return the migrant workers who participated in building the World Cup facilities to their countries ahead of the World Cup.

He added that dozens of construction workers were told to leave next August, which led many of them to fear how to repay the “loans” they took so that they could work abroad.

The Swedish professional football federations lodged a protest with Amnesty International, on Thursday, against the International Football Association (FIFA). The federations called on FIFA to defend the rights of migrant workers in Qatar during next year’s World Cup.

“We can no longer influence where the World Cup will take place, but we can apply pressure,” said Jens T. Andersen, president of the Swedish professional football association.

In the same context, Anna Johansson, head of Amnesty Sweden, said in the same statement, “Migrant workers are indispensable for the organization of the 2022 World Cup, but it must not happen at the cost of their lives, and at the expense of human rights.”

Last week, Finland captain Tim Sparf launched a joint appeal with Amnesty International asking “FIFA to ensure respect for human rights,” adding, “We owe it to those people who have worked for years in poor conditions.”

diagonal response

In response to the criticism, the Qatari Government Communications Office issued a statement declaring its rejection of “Amnesty International’s allegations” that labor reforms have not resulted in changes on the ground for thousands of migrant workers.

The statement said that the Amnesty International report ignored the ability of 242,870 workers to change their employer since the announcement of facilitating the procedures for the movement of workers between different employers in September 2020.

The statement added that the report also did not indicate that more than 400,000 workers benefited directly from the new minimum wage, which resulted in an increase in salaries and access to other financial incentives.

The Supreme Committee coordinating preparations for the World Cup in Qatar also said that it “did not supervise any decisions regarding the departure of workers.”

“Since we won the (rights) World Cup, we have received a lot of criticism. There are constructive criticisms that we have tried to absorb,” said Fatima Al-Nuaimi, head of communications for the organizing committee last month. “We try not to let this criticism stop us.”

Sports analyst Islam Magdy says that FIFA may intervene in turn to prevent such campaigns, because it does not allow such direct criticism of a country, recalling that the European Football Association prevented Ukraine from using a slogan critical of Russia during Euro 2020.

Qatar has made several reforms to workers’ conditions in recent years, including tightening rules designed to protect workers from the heat and raising the minimum wage, according to Reuters.

Leave a Comment