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Five players to have spoken against holding FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Published at :November 19, 2021 at 9:36 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : Bayern Strikes/ Sport Graphy)


Human rights violations and workers' deaths have surfaced in the country ahead of the tournament.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup has come under a lot of heat due to the human rights violations issues in its build-up. Several associations and activists have accused Qatar for allowing the workers for the project to work under abusive conditions. The host nation is reportedly being careless in tending to the workers and their conditions.

Amnesty International recently released a report, targeting the exploitative practices by the local contractors. It suggested that migrant workers responsible for the construction of the World Cup related infrastructure are being exploited. They are working long hours, without decent pay and living conditions. The organising committee has reported deaths of over 38 worker yet.

Due to the alleged human rights violation and controversy around the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, players around the world have voiced their dissent. Many high-profile figures have publicly spoken against the organisation of the competition in Qatar. Here are the five players who have spoken against holding the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

5. Leon Goretzka

Goretzka is one of many German players to voice their dissent (Photo credit: Bavarian Football Works)

Players from Germany have been very vocal against organizing the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. They have often worn jerseys with critical messages during their pre-match training sessions to make a statement. One such player is German international and Bayern Munich ace Leon Goretzka

“We have a large reach and we can use it to set an example for the values we want to stand for. That was clear,” he said while referring to the messages on the jerseys. Goretzka along with the rest of his teammates created a lot of furore with their actions but remained steadfast with their opinions.

4. William Kvist

Kvist is a former Denmark international, who is currently the acting Director of Sports at FC Copenhagen. He has been a vocal critic of the tournament and of the conditions of the workers. “The fact that thousands must die to build 12 fine stadiums for us has nothing to do with football,” he said.

Scandinavian countries like Denmark and Norway have strongly opposed the hosting of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The human rights violations are the main cause for their stand. They have also worn jerseys with messages like “Human Rights on and off the pitch.” Another player from FC Copenhagen, Norwegian Tom Hogli, said that, “working conditions in Qatar are, unfortunately, cruel.”

3. Joshua Kimmich

The German Football Association (DFB) is not in support of boycotting the tournament in Qatar. However, it does not interfere with the players’ right to protest. Joshua Kimmich is a major figure in the national team and is also a strong critic of Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup. "I think we're 10 years too late to boycott the World Cup,” Kimmich said while talking about the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

“As footballers we have a certain responsibility to talk about things. Regarding this topic, we tried that with a very spontaneous shirt activity. In football, you have the chance to point things out and we should continue doing that and use our publicity to raise awareness about things. But it's not just down to us footballers...we should work together," he remarked.

2. Thierry Henry

Henry is a staunch critic of holding the FIFA World Cup in Qatar (Photo credit: Get French Football News)

French legend Thierry Henry has also criticised host-nation Qatar and urged the federations to take bigger actions. The 1998 FIFA World Cup winner with France said that, “First and foremost, let me talk about what the players did and the federation did, that was great. It was great I thought what they did, because they're taking a stand and I think football also can be that.”

“Those players need to realise that they have a voice and they can change a lot of stuff,” Henry continued while heaping praise on players for taking action.  Henry is a strong advocate for an open discussion into human rights violations and smooth organisation of the World Cup.

1. Toni Kroos

Real Madrid ace Toni Kroos is a vocal figure when it comes to this topic and the German international also joined his compatriots in speaking out. The midfielder is not only against the condition of the workers but also feels that Qatar should not be hosting the FIFA World Cup in the first place. “For this tournament to be awarded there, I consider that wrong,” he believes.

“You have to ask the question: What would a boycott of a tournament like this bring? Is it really the case that something would drastically improve there? Would the working conditions change? I believe not,” he added. Kroos believes that the issue of human rights violation and the deplorable condition of the workers needs more attention. 

Apart from these figures, the Netherlands squad has collectively raised this issue. England manager Gareth Southgate and the Football Association (FA) are in dialogue with Amnesty International regarding the situation of the labourers in Qatar.

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