World Cup 2022: 10 European football associations respond to Fifa’s ‘focus on football’ letter

Captain Harry Kane wore a rainbow armband in England's game
England captain Harry Kane wore the ‘One Love’ logo at the World Cup in Qatar

“Human rights are universal and apply everywhere,” after FIFA, the 10 European football associations, including England and Wales, asked the countries competing in the Qatar World Cup to “focus on football now”.

The supreme body of the world He wrote for all 32 groups In the year Following the controversial build-up to the tournament, which begins on November 20.

Host Qatar has been criticized for its stance on same-sex relationships, its human rights record and its treatment of migrant workers.

FIFA’s letter was criticized by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and LGBT+ campaigners in England and Wales.

Acknowledging “significant progress” in Qatar, members of UEFA’s working group on human and labor rights said in a joint statement that they would “continue to press FIFA” to respond to the outstanding issues surrounding migrant workers.

We recognize and acknowledge, as we have done in the past, that we have made significant progress in Qatar, particularly on the rights of migrant workers, with the impact of legal change reflected in recent ILO reports. says the statement.

“We welcome the assurances given by the Government of Qatar and FIFA regarding the safety, security and inclusion of fans traveling to the World Cup, including LGBTQ+ supporters. We also recognize that every country has challenges and issues. Diversity is strength.”

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“But embracing diversity and tolerance means supporting human rights. Human rights are universal and apply everywhere.”

The letter, signed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and general secretary Fatima Zamora, stressed that football should not be dragged into ideological and political “battles” and should not “give moral lessons”.

Peaceful protests have been planned by some players, including England’s Harry Kane and the captains of nine other European teams. ‘One Love’ Armbands. To promote diversity and inclusion.

She wears Denmark. “Awarded” shirts In protest against Qatar, kit supplier Hummel says he “doesn’t want to be seen” at a tournament where he claims “thousands of lives have been lost”. He posted a video. Qatar has been urged to end its same-sex laws.

The English FA has backed calls for the World Cup to be compensated for “injury or death in connection with any construction project”.

“We will continue to support the progress towards positive, progressive changes and continue to encourage the overall outcome and will continue to be updated on two key issues that we have been discussing with FIFA for a long time,” the UEFA working group statement continued.

“FIFA has repeatedly committed to delivering concrete answers to these issues – the migrant workers’ compensation fund and the concept of the migrant workers’ center in Doha – and we are pressing for these to be delivered.”

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“We believe in the power of football to make a more positive and credible contribution to sustainable change in the world.”

On Saturday, fans of the German Bundesliga games protested by waving banners at the crowd.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said criticism of his country’s hosting of the World Cup was “hypocritical”, but that the call for protest was “sold by very few people in 10 countries”. At best, they are not representative of the rest of the world at all.

And in the interview the skyExternal-link On Sunday, people added that “a small country from the Middle East cannot accept the World Cup”.

“Preaching at a distance is not a solution,” he said.

Bayern Munich fans unfurl a Qatar World Cup banner during the Bundesliga match between Hertha BSC and FC Bayern München at Olympiastadion on November 05, 2022 in Berlin, Germany.
Bayern Munich fans unfurl banners protesting Qatar’s World Cup bid after FIFA asked all 32 nations to ‘put football first’

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Analysis

BBC Sports Editor Dan Roan.

The joint statement is diplomatically worded and is a strong and defiant response to FIFA’s stunning ‘Stick to Football’ letter last week that surprised the FA and the FA, disappointed many in the sport and drew condemnation from human rights organisations. and LGBT+ campaigners.

The aim of these 10 Western European federations is to firmly assert that their teams have the right to take a stand on social issues in Qatar, such as plans by England and Wales players to wear the rainbow as part of an anti-discrimination campaign in a country where being gay is illegal.

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And it is in a situation where a huge number of ethical and geopolitical controversies and controversies are receding, clearly rejecting FIFA’s request that political and human rights issues be put to one side during the World Cup. by the hosts to their critics.

There is growing frustration among many in European football over what the statement calls “two major issues”. Center for Migrant Workers and a compensation fund for those killed or injured during World Cup preparations.

Acknowledging the “significant” labor reform, members of UEFA’s human rights working group said they hoped it would help FIFA make progress on these issues several months earlier, which they hope will spur new efforts.

It remains to be seen whether this statement will be helpful with the tournament just days away, but it is a reminder of the tension and division surrounding the final preparations for the event.

Further reading on Qatar 2022 World Cup

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