Australia’s national team condemned human rights abuses in Qatar just over three weeks before the start of the World Cup.
The exploitation of migrant workers during the construction of the stadium “cannot be ignored,” said a statement from the Football Association of Australia, which is accompanied by a short video of 16 Socceroos players.
Football Australia also called on Qatar to legalize same-sex marriage. Australia are the first participating team to criticize the host country in this form.
“We recognize the significant progress and legislative reforms that have taken place in Qatar in recent years to recognize and protect workers’ rights, and we encourage all stakeholders to continue on this path of reform,” the statement said.
On Thursday evening, the World Cup organizers rejected the criticism. No country is “perfect,” said a spokesman for the tournament. In addition, the enforcement of “robust” labor laws was also a “challenge” for Australia.
“We have made every effort to ensure that this World Cup has a transformative impact in improving lives,” the Organization and Sustainability Committee said, “Protecting the health, safety and dignity of all workers attending this Contributing to the World Cup is our priority.”
The awarding of the World Cup to Qatar has been criticized for years. First of all, it was about the bribes that are said to have flowed in the vote in 2010. Then there was the environmental aspect, as the finals had to be postponed to the winter due to the climate. In recent years, the focus has been on the human rights situation, the situation of guest workers and the conditions for LGBT people.
The Emir of Qatar had castigated the ongoing criticism of the host of the upcoming tournament (November 20 to December 18) as an “unprecedented campaign” including “fiction and double standards”. In a televised speech, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani lamented that no host of the finals had been attacked so severely.