We asked every country at the World Cup what they thought about Qatar – here’s what they had to say

In a video released last week, Australia became the first 2022 World Cup team to collectively address the human rights record of host nation Qatar.

The film – produced by the Australian Players’ Association, not its Football Association – raises concerns about the “suffering” of migrant workers and called for the decriminalization of homosexuality.

In doing so, Australia became the first national team to publicly make this final requirement.

In Qatar, homosexuality is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

This month’s World Cup, controversial for the reasons outlined in this article, has come under fire from human rights activists over the deaths of thousands of migrant workers since the country was awarded the right to host the tournament in 2010.

However, an investigation by the athlete He just revealed it Two of the 32 World Cup nations – Belgium and Denmark – support Australia’s call for Qatar to decriminalize homosexuality.

The Athlete They wrote to every country at the World Cup asking if they support Australia’s call to decriminalize homosexuality and if they also plan to show a video to speak out for workers and LGBT+ rights.

Homosexuality is illegal in eight of the 32 countries – Qatar, Senegal, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, Cameroon and Ghana.

Of the 31 countries, 11 submitted the athlete with detailed responses.

However, only Denmark and Belgium have described themselves as being “fully aligned” with Australia on all issues, including decriminalizing homosexuality.

A spokesperson for the Royal Belgian Football Association said: “We embrace all the initiatives taken by the various football associations to support human rights. It is not our aim to make such a video with the Belgian Red Devils, but the position of our federation, players and staff is exactly the same as that of Australia.”

The Danish FA added: “The Danish FA does not agree with the decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. We did not vote for it and we think it is very controversial. Through critical dialogue and presence in Qatar, the DBU will take on an active shared responsibility for creating better conditions for migrant workers working with the Qatar World Cup administration.

“In other words – we have the same opinions, statements and actions as those in Australia.”

Denmark’s kit, made by Hummel, protested to the tournament site, camouflaging the Hummel and DFB badge as both “don’t want to appear during a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives”.

when asked before the athleteseveral other countries They indicated their membership in the UEFA Working Group, a group of countries that are publicly calling for a migrant compensation fund and the construction of a center for migrant workers in Qatar.

First proposed by the president of the Swiss Football Association, it currently comprises the Netherlands, England, the United States, Wales, France, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Canada and Switzerland (with Portugal and Spain allying independently).

UEFA’s FIFA and Qatar working group set a target on October 31 to update them on plans to support migrant workers and seek assurances “that all fans, including those from the LGBT+ communities, will be welcome”. An update is expected in the coming days.

However, while many nations captains will wear the anti-discrimination “OneLove” armband to support LGBT+ rights in the tournament, the working group stops short of explicitly calling for decriminalization.

Craig Foster is a former captain of Australia, who has become a human rights activist since his retirement. He works as an ambassador for both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in addition to his role in the field of football.

Foster said, referring to the Australian video, which featured 16 of their players the athlete: “The statement from the Australian players should come from FIFA and from every federation in the world. But political and economic pressures have clearly led to watered-down statements in support of ‘anti-discrimination’ and ‘collective action’. Australia’s statement stands out because it fully complies with FIFA’s requirements under its human rights policy.

“Many federations and players have spoken out about the MRC. This is commendable, but there is no danger in doing so. But to hold FIFA and the Supreme Committee (the Qatari body responsible for building and delivering World Cup infrastructure) responsible for the damage that has already been done and to demand that it be remedied – that is difficult. .

“It is an absolute credit to the courage of the players because they are clearly resisting the prevailing sporting culture and that takes tremendous courage.”

Pride Football Australia, a group that promotes LGBT+ issues in sport, tweeted: “First country to speak up. But hopefully not the last.”

Australia begins its World Cup campaign against defending champions France on November 22, and then faces Tunisia and Denmark in other Group D matches.

Some of the coaches and players present at the World Cup have spoken out.

For example, Portugal coach Fernando Santos appeared in a powerful Amnesty video, while his Brazilian counterpart Tite publicly expressed support for workers’ compensation – a position not supported by the CBF.

He said other federations – such as those in Japan and Croatia – the athlete that while they are concerned about human rights, they trust Fifa’s assurances that it will “resolve social issues”.

21 countries did not respond to the athletequestions at all.

For Foster, the federations have to go further.

“We’re very much seeing symbolic statements, performance slogans, and very little direct solidarity,” he explains. “The whole game is about internationally recognized human rights, which means non-discrimination within the boundaries of sexuality. There is no wiggle room here.

“It is unacceptable for the game to limit its invitation on the grounds that it will make Qatar uncomfortable or make FIFA uncomfortable. People talk about Qatari culture and say, ‘Well, you have to respect the culture.’ Football doesn’t have to respect the culture, it has to respect the culture. Human rights, it’s completely different.

“But for now, world football is trying to draw a line in the sand to make Qatar feel more comfortable.”

Foster is not optimistic that other teams – apart from Belgium and Denmark – will go the way Australia did:

“I hope other teams will follow suit – but I don’t expect that, given the short time frame and the political and economic pressures on players, clubs and administrators all over the world.

“But what pleases me is that the Australian team has set a standard here for the future of defending athletes and football. This is the standard we need to see from every team in future World Cups and, in fact, throughout the game.”

In response to the allegations made in the Australian video, the Qatar Organizing Committee said: “We applaud the footballers’ use of their platforms to raise awareness of important matters. We have done everything we can to ensure that the World Cup has a transformative impact in improving lives, especially for those involved in building the competitive and non-competitive venues for which we are responsible.

“Protecting the health, safety, security and dignity of every worker contributing to this World Cup is our priority.

The International Labor Organization, the International Trade Union Confederation, and many human rights organizations have endorsed the Qatari government’s labor reforms as a benchmark in the region. New laws and reforms often take time to sleep, and strong enforcement of labor laws is a challenge globally, including in Australia.

“No country is perfect and every country – whether it hosts major events or not – has its challenges. This World Cup has contributed to a legacy of progress, better practice and improved lives – a legacy that will live on long after the final ball has been kicked.”

FIFA has also been contacted for comment.

How do you feel about the Qatar World Cup? Take our reader poll.

(Main drawing by Eamon Dalton)

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