During its qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Thursday, March 25, Germany sent a message in favor of human rights. An action also carried out the day before by Norway, with the aim of putting pressure on FIFA so that the body is stricter with the host country, widely criticized for its treatment of migrant workers.
The teams from Germany and Norway both used their first qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup to send a strong message of support to the workers employed in the construction of the stadiums of the World Cup in Qatar. Indeed, the working conditions of the latter are more than alarming. According to an article in the British daily The Guardian, 6,500 workers have died in the country since the latter was awarded the organization of the competition in 2010.
Thursday March 25, for their match against Iceland, the German players lined up when listening to the anthem, each wearing a black t-shirt flocked with a large white letter. The eleven letters formed the words “HUMAN RIGHTS”. “We wanted to make it clear to the public that we are not ignoring this. (…) We have a large audience and we can use it tremendously to send signals in favor of the values we stand for”, German midfielder Leon Goretzka said after the game won 3-0.
The day before, the Norwegian team had performed a similar action before their match against Gibraltar (won 3-0) by wearing t-shirts proclaiming: “Human rights on and off the field”. Coach Staale Solbakken spoke on the subject, showing his willingness to shake things up: “It is a question of putting pressure on Fifa so that it is even more direct, even firmer towards the authorities in Qatar, that it imposes more stringent requirements on them.”
If in general Fifa prohibits political messages within the framework of the meetings, no sanction has been taken against the two teams. The body even said in a statement sent to the German sports press agency SID, a subsidiary of AFP, to believe “in freedom of speech and in the power of football to bring about positive change.” The message conveyed by these two teams could influence other nations to put real pressure on Qatar to try to improve conditions for workers. Why not France Sunday in Kazakhstan?