Australia’s football players are calling out Qatar on LGBTQ, worker rights

The Australian players issued a declaration Thursday, in which they expressed their support for FIFPro, Building and Wood Workers International, and International Trade Union Confederation efforts to reform Qatar’s labour laws. 

The Australian men’s soccer team has created a three-minute video addressing Qatar’s human rights issues, including how its treatment of foreign workers and LGBTQI+ community is limited. It requests real reform as a legacy of the Gulf state’s hosting of the World Cup, in an effort to raise awareness for the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC).

In the video, 16 players read a sentence or two from a statement. Football Australia also issued a separate statement which said: “The tournament has been associated with suffering for some migrant workers and their families, and this cannot be ignored.”

Qatar has been harshly condemned over the last decade for its mistreatment of migrant workers, mainly from south Asia, who were required to build hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of stadiums, metro lines, roads, and hotels.

There are 32 teams competing in the 2018 World Cup, which runs from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18. The Socceroos have joined a growing number of players from other national teams in voicing their concerns.

Football Australia said that the video has been in the works for almost two years and has been consulted with Amnesty International, the world governing body for soccer, and FIFPRO, the global players’ association, among other global organizations.

The Qatar Emir this week lashed out at remarks concerning his country’s preparations to host the prestigious soccer tournament, calling them an “unprecedented onslaught” against the first Arab nation to hold the event.

Qatar has repeatedly denied that it has failed to improve the protection of migrant workers and has pushed back against the criticism.

Qatar has been subject to an unprecedented attack no host country has ever faced. In a televised address yesterday, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said.

Many people have become so frustrated with the campaign’s fabrications and double standards that they have begun to question the real motives and reasons behind it he said. Last month, eight of the 13 European teams that qualified for the tournament said their captains would wear a wristband with a heart-shaped, variegated pattern to show their support for the “One Love” initiative to eradicate prejudice.

It is a clear violation of FIFA rules. Additionally, there is dismay at home about taking soccer’s greatest event to Qatar, where homosexual acts are prohibited. Qatar says LGTBQ fans will not be arrested.

Image Credit: AP Photo/Dan Peled