10 European football associations respond after FIFA sent ‘focus on football’ letter in response to complaints about Human Rights violations by Qatar

10 European football associations respond after FIFA sent ‘focus on football’ letter in response to complaints about Human Rights violations by Qatar

Ten European football organisations have replied to FIFA’s request that nations participate in the Qatar World Cup “now focus on football,” stressing that “human rights are universal and apply everywhere.”

Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host country, has been under fire for its attitude on same-sex couples, human rights record, and treatment of migrant labor.

England’s FA has backed calls for compensation to be awarded for “any injury or death related to any construction project” for the World cup while peaceful protests have been planned by some players, and ten captains of European teams will be wearing ‘One Love’ armbands to promote diversity and inclusion.

Denmark said it will wear “toned-down” shirts to protest against Qatar, with kit provider Hummel saying it “does not wish to be visible” in a tournament it claims “has cost thousands of lives”, while Australia’s squad have released a video urging Qatar to abolish its laws on same-sex relationships.

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FIFA last week the  wrote to all 32 teams, in the letter, signed by its president Gianni Infantino and secretary general Fatma Samoura, urged that football should not be “dragged” into ideological or political “battles” and it should not be “handing out moral lessons”.

The FIFA letter was criticised by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and LGBT+ campaigners in England and Wales.

While acknowledging the “significant progress” made by Qatar, a joint statement issued by members of the Uefa Working Group on human rights and labour rights on Monday, November 7, said it would “continue to press” Fifa for answers on outstanding issues surrounding migrant workers.

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“We acknowledge, and welcome, as we have done in the past, that significant progress has been made by Qatar, particularly with regards to the rights of migrant workers, with the impact of legislative changes demonstrated in the International Labour Organisation’s recent reports,” said the statement.

“We welcome the assurances given by the Qatari Government and by Fifa regarding the safety, security, and inclusion of all fans who travel to the World Cup, including LGBTQ+ fans. We also recognise that every country has issues and challenges and we agree with Fifa that diversity is a strength.

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“However, embracing diversity and tolerance also means supporting human rights. Human rights are universal and they apply everywhere.”

“Fifa has repeatedly committed to deliver concrete answers on these issues – the compensation fund for migrant workers, and the concept of a migrant workers centre to be created in Doha – and we will continue to press for these to be delivered.

“We believe in the power of football to make further positive and credible contributions to progressive sustainable change in the world.”

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