AFTER FIFA instructed World Cup teams to keep politics and morality lectures out of the competition, English and Welsh football officials insisted they would continue to advocate for migrant workers’ rights and compensation in Qatar.
In a letter written to the 32 World Cup finalists, the FIFA leadership pleaded for them to “concentrate on the game,” which was exclusively reported by Sky News on Thursday night.
In a joint statement with eight other European federations, the English and Welsh Football Associations said they will continue to push for change on off-the-field concerns as members of the UEFA Working Group on Human and Labor Rights.
They acknowledged the improvements in working conditions in Qatar and stated that LGBTQ+ supporters will be welcome despite same-sex relationships being illegal in the conservative Gulf country.
But the European countries asserted: “We also recognise that every country has issues and challenges, and we agree with FIFA that diversity is a strength. However, embracing diversity and tolerance also means supporting human rights. Human rights are universal and they apply everywhere.”
FIFA sent the letter last week because the European countries had asked for confirmations from FIFA by last week that there would be compensation for any migrant workers’ fatalities in Qatar.
In a statement, the UEFA working group stated: “FIFA has repeatedly committed to deliver concrete answers on these issues – the compensation fund for migrant workers, and the concept of a migrant workers centre to be created in Doha – and we will continue to press for these to be delivered.
“We believe in the power of football to make further positive and credible contributions to progressive, sustainable change in the world.”
Along with Switzerland, who will play in Qatar, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Portugal, the UEFA group also included non-qualified nations Norway and Sweden and Belgium, Denmark, and Germany.
They claimed to be responding.”to the latest developments and public discussions related to challenges in the host country off the pitch, before the sport shall soon take centre stage.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino and secretary general Fatma Samoura wrote to them last week, saying: “Please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists.”