FIFA letter receives backlash from World Cup nations: ‘The pursuit of such a strategy will be self-defeating’

A letter FIFA sent to all World Cup nations asking Qatar to “focus on football” rather than “every ideological or political fight” was criticized by several recipients.

Preparations for the tournament have been overshadowed by allegations of serious human rights abuses in Qatar, including the criminalization of homosexuality, widespread deaths of migrant workers and restrictions on women’s rights in the country.

Several nations have said Athletic FIFA’s warning did not change its response to any of these issues.

It includes members of the 12-team UEFA Working Group, which is pushing FIFA and Qatar to provide more comprehensive support for migrant workers’ rights, including England, the United States, France, the Netherlands and Germany, as well as Australia. especially speaking out about the protection of human rights.

Last week, Team Australia released a video via the Players’ Foundation (PFA) calling for fair compensation for migrant workers, migrant worker centers and the decriminalization of homosexuality.

in response to the question AthleticBelgium and Denmark have expressed support for Australia’s position on three issues, while 10 other countries have publicly called for the establishment of migrant worker centers and compensation funds.

Several associations reacted with confusion to the letter, with one questioning why it was sent by letter rather than email. Others were only trying to confirm receipt of letters addressed to the executive director or president of each association, many of whom were overseas.

PFA chief executive Bo Bush said when asked if FIFA’s letter had changed the Australian team’s view of the tournament. Athletic: “No, it just reinforces the scale of the challenge for those who want to put a good face on football, and underlines the courage of those who continue to speak out.

“It reinforces the reality that leadership on these important issues will continue to come from groups such as players, coaches, fans and human rights organizations. FIFA has no exclusive right to what this game may or may not represent; Each of us is free to make our own choices when it comes to football.

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“FIFA acknowledged in their letter that football does not operate in a vacuum, but they seem to be calling for it to do so. History has shown us that such a strategy is self-defeating and will only further undermine social consent for football to operate.”

Athletic FIFA has been contacted for comment.

Qatar’s labor minister this week rejected calls for a compensation fund for migrant workers, calling the idea a “propaganda operation” in comments described as “disgraceful” by human rights groups.

The compensation fund was the main demand of the UEFA Working Group, which responded in frustration to the Netherlands-led FIFA letter.

“After the World Cup, the KNVB wants to be proud of two things: the performance of the Dutch national team on the pitch and the long-term improvement in the situation of migrant workers in Qatar,” said general secretary Gijs de Jong. of the KNVB.

“We will also be committed to this last theme. “We have been working on this for a long time and will continue to work after the World Cup.”

Several other working group unions have agreed Athletic Their position will not change. The unions are expected to make a joint statement on Saturday afternoon.

The task force contacted FIFA in mid-October to ask for specific assurances about the compensation fund and the development of the workers’ center. A comment reached Monday was not returned.

On Friday, FIFA finally responded, highlighting the work done in Qatar. They cited an International Labor Organization (ILO) report published this week that praised some developments in Qatar, including the abolition of the kafala system, and called for significant improvements.

However, representing the working group, De Jong said, “Unfortunately, FIFA has not made a clear commitment regarding the compensation fund and the center for migrant workers, as specifically requested.

“We want a credible answer, which FIFA has promised several times. That is why we have put this topic on the agenda for the upcoming FIFA summit (November 20) so that it can now be discussed with all 211 trade unions.”

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The task force expressed its disappointment with FIFA on Friday afternoon.

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Gianni Infantino’s letter about the World Cup is unfortunate, baseless and stupid.


What did the letter say?

Sent on Thursday evening around 19:00 and signed by President Gianni Infantino and Secretary General Fatma Samoura, the full text reads:

“The world’s best football festival is taking place all over the world as the FIFA World Cup approaches in Qatar and we count down the days until it kicks off in Doha on Sunday 20 November 2022.

“As one of the 32 participating teams, you carry the hopes and dreams of your country and people on your shoulders.

“FIFA wants to tell you that everything is in place to ensure that every country participating in Qatar has the best possible chance of success at the final stage of football. Eight state-of-the-art stadiums will provide the perfect platform to host the world’s biggest sporting event for the 64 matches of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“So now let’s focus on football!

“We know that football does not live in a vacuum, and we also understand that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature in every corner of the world. But don’t let football drag you into every ideological and political struggle.

“At FIFA, we try to respect all opinions and beliefs without moralizing the rest of the world. One of the world’s greatest strengths is truly diversity, and if inclusion means anything, it means respecting that diversity. Al but no people, culture, or nation is “better” than others. This principle is the basis of mutual respect and non-discrimination. It is also one of the main values ​​of football. So let’s all remember this and take football as the center.

“Now, during the FIFA World Cup, we have a unique opportunity and opportunity to welcome and embrace everyone, regardless of background, origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity. Let’s seize this opportunity and unite the world through the universal language of football.”

Why did the Australian team decide to speak out?

Australia’s announcement was significant – not only was it the first public statement by a group of players, but it was also the country’s first demand to criminalize homosexuality.

PFA CEO Keith Gill explains the process behind the video. Athletic.

“This video was another step in the journey the players have taken over the last three years,” he said. “They have worked with Human Rights groups such as Amnesty, ILO, FIFPRO, FIFA, the High Committee and most importantly the migrant workers themselves.

“What has become clear during this process is that the focus of the World Cup has facilitated important reforms, but it is equally clear that further progress is needed. The players hope that this video plays a small part in leaving a lasting legacy in Qatar beyond what is happening on the pitch.”

The team has no plans to hold any further protests at the World Cup, but has announced its commitment to addressing these issues after the tournament.

“The players wanted to be really clear in the video and make their position as clear as possible,” Bush added. “We have focused on ensuring that no human rights are violated during the tournament and that anyone who has been adversely affected by their activities during the tournament can be remedied.

“No additional protests are planned at the tournament and the players are determined to make themselves proud of the football community both on and off the pitch. Our involvement in these matters will continue long after the final whistle of the Men’s World Cup.”

The World Cup kicks off on November 20 with Qatar playing Ecuador.

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Why is the 2022 World Cup in Qatar controversial?

(Photo: Getty Images)



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