World Cup 2022: Fifa tells all competing nations to ‘focus on football’ in Qatar

Norway wears t-shirts protesting the World Cup in Qatar
Norwegian players, including Erling Haaland (far left), wore ‘human rights on and off the pitch’ T-shirts last year to protest the World Cup in Qatar. Norway did not qualify for the tournament.

Fifa has sent a letter to all 32 teams competing at the World Cup to tell them it is time to “focus on football”.

The tournament, which begins in Qatar on November 20, has been surrounded by controversy.

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

Some players planned peaceful protests.

It will be worn by Englishman Harry Kane and nine other captains of European teams ‘One Love’ wristbands.

Denmark will wear “softened” shirts in protest against Qatar, and kit supplier Hummel said it “doesn’t want to be visible” at a tournament it claims has “cost thousands of lives”.

Paris and other French cities refuse to show the matches in public areas, despite France being the defending champions.

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The Australian team has posted a video calling on Qatar to repeal its laws on same-sex relationships.

Speaking this week, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said it was “not fair” to expect players to make political statements or protest at the tournament.

England midfielder Jordan Henderson told Radio 5 Live Breakfast: “It affects the players a lot if the World Cup is played there and everything that goes with it, but the players don’t decide where the World Cup is played.

“Fifa decides that and that’s a question for them to answer. For us as players we just play football and try to have a voice in certain ways to help as much as we can.”

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He added: “We’re doing little things like that to try and show people that we’re all one, we’re all inclusive and that’s why the campaign [Kane’s armband] was brought to light.

“If you do the right things, that’s the most important thing. Whatever the players say and do, in the end the World Cup is played where Fifa decides. Unless they all just turn up and go, no matter what people say it will never be enough. “

England’s Beth Mead said Thursday that it is The “disappointing” tournament is being held in Qatar. Mead, who is openly gay, doesn’t think the Gulf state is the “right place” to host the tournament.

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Other off-field issues include FIFA’s ban on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. In addition, the Ukrainian FA called for Iran to be banned from the World Cup for “systematic violation of human rights”. It is believed that cracking down on protests in the country “could undermine the principles and norms” of FIFA.

The World Cup was moved to winter for the first time. Qatar initially proposed hosting the finals in the summer in air-conditioned indoor stadiums, but the plan was rejected.

The organizers of the World Cup in Qatar state that “everyone is welcome” to visit the country to watch football and that no one will be discriminated against.

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As well as urging countries to “focus on football now”, the letter – signed by Fifa president Gianni Infantino and general secretary Fatma Samoura – said: “Everyone is welcome regardless of background, origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality. “

It also said: “We recognize that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature around the world.”

Seven new stadiums, an airport, roads and around 100 hotels were built for this event. Qatar’s government says 30,000 foreign workers have been hired to build the stadium alone, with the majority coming from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and the Philippines.

Human rights groups have complained about the treatment of foreign workers in Qatar and the number of those who have died there.

In February 2021, the Guardian reported that 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had died in Qatar since it won the 2010 World Cup.

The number is based on figures provided by the countries’ embassies in Qatar.

However, the Qatari government said the total number was wrong because not all deaths were recorded of people working on World Cup-related projects.

The government said its accident data showed there were 37 deaths among workers on World Cup stadium construction sites between 2014 and 2020, of which only three were “work-related”.

BBC Arabic has also gathered evidence suggesting that the Qatari government has been under-reporting deaths among foreign workers.

England’s Football Association has backed calls for compensation for “any injury or death in connection with any construction project” for the World Cup.

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