Australia has released a collective statement against Qatar’s human rights record, becoming the first team to host the 2022 World Cup.
The video message criticizes the treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ people by the World Cup hosts.
Football Australia also released a statement saying the “suffering” felt by staff and their families affected by the tournament “cannot be ignored”.
Australia will play the tournament in Qatar starting on November 20.
the videoThe group of 16 players calls for an “effective remedy” for migrant workers and the decriminalization of same-sex relationships.
The 16 Australian players featured in the video include captain Mat Ryan, Sunderland defender Bailey Wright, Hearts’ Kye Rowles and Alex Wilkinson, president of the players’ union Professional Footballers Australia, who last represented the Socceroos in 2015.
“Facing these issues is not easy, and we don’t have all the answers,” the players said.
“We join FIFPro, the International and International Confederation of Construction and Wood Workers’ Unions, in seeking to embed reforms and establish a lasting legacy for Qatar.
“This must include the establishment of a resource center for migrants, an effective remedy for those denied rights, and the decriminalization of all same-sex relationships.
“These are fundamental rights that should be granted to all and will ensure Qatar’s continued progress and legacy beyond the final stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”
In the message, the players accepted some reforms, such as the abolition of the ‘kafala’ system – which allowed employers to take away their workers’ passports and leave the country – however, they were applied inconsistently and did not go far enough.
“Everyone should feel safe”
Football Australia’s statement also refers to Qatar’s laws on LGBTQ+ relationships. Homosexuality could be punishable by death in the Gulf state, with comments from UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly Gay fans attending the tournament must show “flexibility and commitment”. being criticized
Adelaide United defender Joshua Cavallo, the only active male senior footballer currently out as gay, has been capped for Australia’s under-20s.
“As the most diverse, varied and inclusive sport in our country, we believe that everyone should feel safe and be their true self,” the statement said.
“While we acknowledge the strong assurances from Qatar’s HH Amir and Fifa President that LGBTI+ fans will be safely welcomed in Qatar, we hope this openness will continue beyond the tournament.”
Peter Tatchell was a British campaigner for LGBT rights he stopped Speaking from a rally in Doha on Tuesday, he said: “Australian football stars are leading the way. I applaud their statement in support of the human rights of LGBT+ people and migrant workers. They have set the gold standard. I hope all other national teams follow their lead and all team captains post-match that they will dedicate 30 seconds of each press conference to reaffirm their commitment to the rights of LGBT, women and migrant workers.”
It is one of the most pointed criticisms of any of the teams playing at the World Cup, with the decision to host the tournament in Qatar heavily criticized by FIFA since its announcement in 2010.
Human rights groups have denounced the treatment of foreign workers in Qatar, and the number of deaths there.
In February 2021, the Guardian reported that 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had died since Qatar won its World Cup bid.
The number is based on data provided by the countries’ embassies in Qatar.
However, the Qatari government said the total was misleading because not all recorded deaths were of people working on World Cup-related projects.
The government said its accident records showed that between 2014 and 2020 there were 37 deaths among workers on World Cup stadium construction, only three of which were “work-related”.
Australia are in Group D alongside world champions France, as well as Denmark and Tunisia.
Danish opposition groups have also protested against human rights abuses in the Middle Eastern state Wearing a ‘toned’ World Cup jersey.
Players from nine European countries, including England, will wear ‘One Love’ armbands to protest Qatar’s same-sex laws.