The Australian World Cup Football team have joined the protests from many other footballers from across the globe and released a video protest against Qatar’s human rights record ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
A video message was produced by 16 of the players from The Socceroos (the name given to the Australian team) and it called for an “effective remedy” for migrant workers and a change in laws regarding same-sex relationships.
Football Australia, the governing body, also released a statement, saying the plight of migrant workers “cannot be ignored”.
In the statement, the players said they recognise Qatar has put in place some important reforms improving conditions and labour rights since being awarded the World Cup hosting rights.
That includes doing away with a system that allows employers to take away workers’ passports and block them from leaving the country.
However, they claim the implementation of these reforms has been inconsistent.
“Addressing these issues is not easy. And we do not have all the answers,” the players said.
“We stand with FIFPro, the Building and Wood Workers International, and the International Trade Union Confederation, seeking to embed reforms and establish a lasting legacy in Qatar. This must include establishing a migrant resource centre, effective remedy for those who have been denied their rights, and the decriminalisation of all same-sex relationships. These are the basic rights that should be afforded to all and will ensure continued progress in Qatar … [and] a legacy that goes well beyond the final whistle of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”
Football Australia, also acknowledged the recent legislative reforms in Qatar but backed the players’ call to protect the rights of workers beyond the World Cup, and also urged for long-term change to the country’s views on homosexuality.
“As the most multicultural, diverse, and inclusive sport in our country, we believe everyone should be able to feel safe and be their true authentic selves,” FA’s statement said. “Whilst we acknowledge the highest levels of assurances given by HH Amir of Qatar and the President of FIFA that LGBTI+ fans will be safely welcomed in Qatar, we hope that this openness can continue beyond the tournament.”
The statement from Football Australia was unexpected according to football insiders, especially since it is preparing to bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2034. Some thought the game’s leaders would stay silent in a political move.
Denmark, Australia’s Group D opponents, will wear single-colour “protest” jerseys and players from nine European countries, including England, have also committed to wearing “One Love” armbands.
The 16 Australian players involved in the video are: captain Mat Ryan, Bailey Wright, Jamie Maclaren, Nick D’Agostino, Jackson Irvine, Craig Goodwin, Danny Vukovic, Andrew Redmayne, Mathew Leckie, Mitchell Duke, Mitch Langerak, Denis Genreau, Cameron Devlin, Adam Taggart, Kye Rowles and Alex Wilkinson.
Last Updated on Oct 27, 2022