Watch The Socceroos Slam Qatar For Human Rights Violations Ahead Of The World Cup

The Socceroos are the first team to release a statement against Qatar's human rights.


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The Socceroos have released a lengthy video statement addressing Qatar’s human rights record ahead of the FIFA World Cup.

Australia is the first qualifying nation to come out in protest of the human rights violations in Qatar, a topic that has dominated headlines ahead of the competition’s launch next month.

Players Speak Out

Sixteen players who are set to represent Australia at the World Cup next month appeared in the video calling for an “effective remedy” to the situation workplace rights, and the laws surrounding same-sex relationships.

“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,” captain Maty Ryan says in the three-and-a-half minute video.

The players featured in the video also include: 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.

Ryan and Irvine have previously made personal comments on Qatar’s human rights record, but this is the first time the team — as a collective — have spoken out.

Players Demand The Decriminalisation Of Same-Sex Relationships

While the protest largely focuses on the migrant worker issues, the players also made a strong statement in support of LGBTIQ+ rights. For context: male homosexuality remains illegal in Qatar and is punishable by imprisonment and even death.

“As players, we fully support the rights of the LGBTI+ people, but in Qatar people are not free to love the person they choose. Addressing these issues is not easy and we don’t have all the answers,” players said in the video.

“This must include establishing a migrants’ resource centre, effective remedy for those who have been denied their rights and the decriminalisation of all same-sex relationships.”

“These are 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.”

Football Australia Makes A Statement

In addition to the video released on Thursday morning, Football Australia also released a lengthy statement.

Football Australia’s purpose is to bring communities together through football and our participation at this year’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM is no exception,” the statement read. “Football Australia has a responsibility to equitably represent our fans, our players, and our football family.  We are proud to be the most multi-cultural, diverse, and inclusive sport in Australia.”

Football Australia notes that they, as well as Professional Footballers Australia, have consulted with stakeholders in the football community, as well as those directly impacted in Qatar.

“We acknowledge the significant progress and legislative reforms have occurred in Qatar over recent years to recognise and protect the rights of workers, and we encourage all stakeholders to continue this path to reform,” the statement continues.

“However, we have also learned that the tournament has been associated with suffering for some migrant workers and their families.”

We Don’t Know How Many People Have Died In The Lead Up To The World Cup

It remains unclear exactly how many migrant workers have died building the infrastructure needed for Qatar to host the World Cup, but figures released by The Guardian last year claimed that more than 6500 workers from just five nations (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) died in the decade between 2010 and 2020.

While the actual figure is expected to be much higher when you account for the nations not included in The Guardian‘s figure, Qatar officials claim only three workers have died on-site to date — this claim has been widely disputed.

The Qatar World Cup Boss Tells Countries Not To Turn Tournament Into A “Platform Of Political Statements”

While Australia’s Socceroos are the first qualifying team to release a protest statement like this, other political statements have made headlines ahead of the competition’s kick off.

Denmark has debuted an all-black protest kit to symbolise “the colour of mourning”, while 10 countries are set to wear rainbow armbands as part of an anti-discrimination pledge — a decision that FIFA is yet to grand permission for.

Australia’s protest video comes after Qatar World Cup boss Nasser Al Khater slammed “political statements” in a recent interview with Sky News.

“At the end of the day, as long as you don’t do anything that harms other people, if you’re not destroying public property, as long as you’re behaving in a way that’s not harmful, then everybody’s welcome and you have nothing to worry about,” he said. “From what I understand, there are discussions taking place about the different political messages that are going to be.”

“This is a sporting tournament that people want to come and enjoy. Turning it into a platform of political statements I don’t think is right for the sport.”

FIFA is yet to comment on Football Australia’s statement.