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Home Sport Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, the teams are mobilizing for human rights
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Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, the teams are mobilizing for human rights

Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark … Several European teams took advantage of their qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup to demand respect for human rights in Qatar, a country highly criticized for the working conditions of its employees in the construction of the World Cup stadiums.

Norway opened the march on Wednesday March 24 by wearing t-shirts with the mention “Human rights on and off the pitch”. Since then, many other teams have taken a stand to support these migrant workers.

Norway’s players wear a t-shirt with the words “Human rights on and off the pitch” before their qualifying match against Turkey on Saturday 27 March 2021.


On Saturday March 27, the Netherlands, in turn, sent a message of support before their match against Latvia (won 2-0). The Oranje entered the Arena Johan Cruyff lawn wearing a black T-shirt with “Football supports CHANGE” (Football supports CHANGE). “As footballers, our voice must be heard. It will be more effective through collective action bringing together several countries rather than acting individually.”Memphis Depay told the ANP news agency.

On Sunday March 28, Germany sent a new message, this time coded, before the match against Romania (1-0). The Mannschaft players were photographed with their shirts worn upside down, with their name and number on their stomachs. An allusion to the 30 articles of the Charter of Human Rights. “We defend the 30 articles, we wanted to show it once again. We are obviously against any discrimination and we defend tolerance and diversity”, captain Manuel Neuer explained to RTL after the match.

These actions, undertaken since the start of qualifying, are gradually having a snowball effect and involving more and more federations. If the France team has not yet manifested itself in this way, captain Hugo Lloris was questioned about the messages of protest against the treatment of foreign workers on Qatari construction sites: “It’s a good thing. The players have the right to come forward. In any case, there is no player who is insensitive to what has been said or written in relation to all this,” he said. Explain just before the match against Kazakhstan (2-0).

Towards a boycott of competition?

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The idea was initially born in Norway, the first country to talk about a boycott of the World Cup following the publication of an article in the British daily. The Guardian, according to which 6,500 workers have died in the host country since the latter was awarded the organization of the competition in 2010. The Norwegians finally wanted to postpone their final decision to next June.

But for the other teams, boycotting the competition is not an option. “Qatar has been designated for a long time by responsible people, we are not going to question the organization within one year. France will be present in Qatar if it qualifies”, assured the president of the French Federation Noël Le Graët in an interview with AFP in early March.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez told him in the daily La Derniere Heure that “Boycotting the World Cup in Qatar is not the solution. It would be to turn your back on the problem. On the contrary, we must face it”. The same goes for German international Joshua Kimmich: “For a boycott, we are ten years too late. It was at the time (when the World Cup was awarded to Qatar) that we should have thought about it“, he told AFP.

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