World Cup 2022: 10 European soccer associations reply to Fifa’s ‘concentrate on soccer’ letter

England captain Harry Kane will carrying a ‘One Love’ armband on the World Cup in Qatar

Ten European soccer associations together with these of England and Wales say “human rights are universal and apply everywhere” after Fifa requested nations competing on the Qatar World Cup to “now focus on the football”.

The world governing physique wrote to all 32 groups following a controversial build-up to the event, which begins on 20 November.

Host Qatar has been criticised for its stance on same-sex relationships, its human rights report and its remedy of migrant staff.

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

Whereas acknowledging the “significant progress” made by Qatar, a joint assertion issued by members of the Uefa Working Group on human rights and labour rights mentioned it will “continue to press” Fifa for solutions on excellent points surrounding migrant staff.

“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,” mentioned the assertion.

“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.

“Nevertheless, embracing variety and tolerance additionally means supporting human rights. Human rights are common and so they apply all over the place.”

Fifa’s 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 ethical classes”.

Peaceful protests have been planned by some players, while England’s Harry Kane and nine other captains of European teams will be wearing ‘One Love’ armbands. to advertise variety and inclusion.

Denmark will put on “toned-down” shirts to protest against Qatar, with kit provider Hummel saying it “doesn’t want to be seen” in a tournament it claims “has value hundreds of lives”, whereas Australia’s squad have launched a video urging Qatar to abolish its laws on same-sex relationships.

England’s FA has backed calls for compensation to be awarded for “any harm or dying associated to any building challenge” for the World Cup.

“We’ll proceed to help the momentum for optimistic, progressive change and proceed to advocate for a conclusive final result and replace on the 2 key excellent points we now have been discussing with Fifa for a very long time,” the Uefa Working Group’s statement continued.

“Fifa has repeatedly dedicated to ship concrete solutions on these points – the compensation fund for migrant staff, and the idea of a migrant staff centre to be created in Doha – and we are going to proceed 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.”

On Saturday, protests had been held at Bundesliga video games in Germany with followers holding up banners within the crowd.

Qatar’s Minister of International Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani has mentioned criticism of his nation’s internet hosting of the World Cup quantities to “hypocrisy”, whereas requires a boycott are “are being peddled by a very small number of people, in 10 countries at most, who are not at all representative of the rest of the world”.

And in an interview with Skyexternal-link on Sunday, he added individuals “cannot accept a small country from the Middle East” internet hosting the World Cup.

“Preaching from a distance is not a solution,” he mentioned.

Bayern Munich fans unveil a banner about the Qatar World Cup during the Bundesliga match between Hertha BSC and FC Bayern München at Olympiastadion on November 05, 2022 in Berlin, Germany
Bayern Munich followers unveiled a banner protesting the Qatar World Cup after Fifa wrote to all 32 nations asking them to ‘put soccer first’

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BBC sports activities editor Dan Roan

Whereas written diplomatically, this joint assertion is a strong and defiant response to Fifa’s exceptional ‘persist with soccer’ letter final week, which took the FA and the FAW unexpectedly, dismayed many within the sport, and which was extensively condemned by human rights teams and LGBT+ campaigners.

The intention of those 10 west European federations is to firmly reassert their groups’ proper to make a stand on social points in Qatar, such because the plan by England and Wales gamers to put on rainbow armbands as a part of an anti-discrimination marketing campaign in a rustic the place it’s unlawful to be homosexual.

And it’s a clear rejection of Fifa’s request that political and human rights issues are put to 1 aspect in the course of the World Cup amid a build-up that has been blighted by a myriad of moral and geopolitical controversies, and an more and more aggressive strategy by the hosts in the direction of their critics.

There may be additionally a way of the mounting frustration that many inside European soccer really feel over what the assertion refers to as “two key outstanding issues”; a Migrant Employee Centre and a compensation fund for these killed or injured throughout World Cup preparations.

Whereas acknowledging “significant” labour reforms, members of Uefa’s Working Group on human rights had anticipated Fifa to assist ship progress on each these causes a number of months in the past, and can hope that this may spur them right into a renewed effort.

With the beginning of the event simply days away, it stays to be seen whether or not this assertion helps, however it’s definitely a reminder of the stress and division that surrounds last preparations for the occasion.

Extra studying on Qatar 2022 World Cup

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