Socceroos stars SLAM Qatar for dismal human rights record

Socceroos release video that slams Qatar over thousands of deaths of foreign workers while building stadiums for World Cup – and also call on the Middle Eastern country to decriminalise gay relationships

  • Socceroos have spoken out in an extended video ahead of World Cup in Qatar
  • Focus on Qatar’s human rights record and deaths leading into tournament
  • Also called for homosexuality to be decriminalised in Middle Eastern state
  • Football Australia backed the players, also released a statement on the matter 

The Socceroos have publicly slammed Qatar in a video ahead of next month’s World Cup due to their shocking human rights record and laws that make being gay illegal. 

They are the first FIFA World Cup squad to release a combined statement of protest, where they also highlighted the ongoing ‘suffering’ of local workers ahead of the showpiece sporting tournament.

The video message, delivered by 16 players, has the support of Football Australia, who released their own statement on the matter.

FA insist the ‘suffering’ of workers and their families stemming from the tournament ‘cannot be ignored.’

The World Cup kicks off on November 20 in Doha in the the oil-rich, highly conservative Middle Eastern state.

Migrant workers have endured oppressive conditions in Qatar and many died while building infrastructure for the tournament in recent years –  although the precise number of fatalities is contested. 

Socceroos skipper Mat Ryan was one of 16 players to slam Qatar as a nation ahead of the World Cup next month due to their shocking human rights record

According to The Guardian, as many as 6500 workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar since it was awarded World Cup hosting duties in 2010.

Qatar’s tournament organising committee are adamant only three people died on-site while building stadiums. 

The Australian players involved in the video are: captain Mat Ryan, 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 and Kye Rowles.

Alex Wilkinson – the president of players union Professional Footballers Australia and Sydney FC skipper – also features in the extended clip.

The collective message is clear – the decision to award World Cup hosting rights to Qatar has ‘resulted in the suffering and in the harm of countless of our fellow workers’, while also referencing that homosexuality is currently illegal in the country.

Cult hero goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne also highlighted the ongoing ‘suffering’ of local workers ahead of the showpiece sporting tournament in Qatar

‘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,’ the video outlines.

‘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 … [and] a legacy that goes well beyond the final whistle of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.’

The players’ statement was made following a series of briefings with numerous authorities over the past 12 months, including FIFA and Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Legacy and Development, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

It also included groups advocating for workers in Qatar.

Football Australia’s statement acknowledged the recent legislative reforms in Qatar – but backed the players’ call for a migrant workers’ centre to protect the rights of workers beyond the World Cup.

They also want to see people identifying as LGBTQ treated with dignity in Qatar.

The powerful video message, delivered by 16 players, has the support of Football Australia, who released their own statement on the matter (pictured, midfielder Jackson Irvine)

‘As the most multicultural, diverse, and inclusive sport in our country, we believe everyone should be able to feel safe and be their true authentic selves,’ FA’s statement reads. 

‘Whilst we acknowledge the highest levels of assurances given by HH Amir of Qatar and the President of FIFA that LGBTI+ fans will be safely welcomed in Qatar, we hope that this openness can continue beyond the tournament.’

The primary aim of the exercise involving the Socceroos was an ‘opportunity to raise awareness of some important issues and help affect change globally and domestically’.

Other nations playing in the World Cup are expected to make their own statements on the pitch in Qatar.

Denmark – who Australia play in Group D – will don single-colour ‘protest’ jerseys and have minimised any pre-tournament commercial activity or travel that promotes Qatar.

England’s footballers will wear ‘One Love’ armbands, a protest around same-sex relationships being forbidden in Qatar.

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