The Australia football team has become the first to speak out against Qatar’s human rights record ahead of playing in the World Cup this winter.
16 Socceroos players are involved in the video, reading out a collective statement which denounces Qatar’s treatment of LGBTQ+ people and migrant workers.
The message acknowledges improvements to working conditions and pay have been made in Qatar, but calls for further measures to be brought in.
The players said: ‘There are universal values that should define football values such as respect, dignity, trust, and courage. When we represent our nation, we aspire to embody these values.
‘Over the last two years, we have been on a journey to understand and learn more about the situation in Qatar.
‘We have learned that progress has been made both on paper and in practice. The Kafala System has largely been dismantled, working conditions have improved and a minimum wage has been established.
‘Whilst the reforms established in Qatar are an important and welcomed step their implementation remains inconsistent and requires improvement.
‘We have learned that the decision to host the World Cup in Qatar has resulted in the suffering and harm of countless of our fellow workers.
‘These migrant workers who have suffered are not just numbers. Like the migrants that have shaped our country and our football, they possess the same courage and determination to build a better life.
‘As players we fully support the rights of LGBTI+ people, but in Qatar people are not free to love the person they choose.
‘Addressing these issues is not easy. And we do not have all the answers. 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. This is how we can ensure a legacy that goes well beyond the final whistle of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. One that football can truly be proud of.’
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