Qatar and the world cup, the protests grow

By Tony Attwood

More news on the Norwegian protest against the world cup in Qatar – a country in which slave labour has been used to build the stadia.  If you are a regular reader of Untold you’ll know we’ve been campaigning on this for years – now it is really coming to life.

With Martin Odegaard and other Norwegian players having taken the action of protesting against Qatar as a venue it is now up to the English media to decide if they will take up the protest over the use of slave labour, or whether they think taking the knee is ok, but actually protesting about slave labour is going to far.  The reports in the papers in the days to come will tell us which side they are on.  If it is quickly dropped we’ll know it is an embarrassment to them.

There has however been one interesting move already.  Fifa’s rules state that players may not engage in promoting what they call political, religious or personal slogans”, but they have now said that no action against the Norwegian protest.

On Thursday the English FA issued a statement saying it intended to engage with the tournament in a “socially responsible” manner and that there was “still much more to be done” on human rights in the country.   If the FA sticks to that, it will be the first proper engagement they have had in the affair.

They went on to say “We are working closely with all to ensure that, if we qualify, we approach our participation in the upcoming Fifa World Cup in a socially responsible manner. From those discussions to date, we believe that there is evidence of some progress being made by Qatar, however we recognise there is still much more to be done.

“Our view remains that change is best achieved by working collaboratively with others so that we can continue to ask the right questions, while always being mindful that we have our own challenges in this country.”

Well, yes, ok, but I am not sure we have that much modern slavery.

What we really need to heed are the words of Infantino who has said, “Our position at Fifa has always been, and will always be, engagement and dialogue is the only and the best way forward to make changes happen.”

And we need to remember that statement because had Qatar not won the world cup, those migrant workers would not have been tempted to Qatar with the promise of money and jobs that did not exist, and then kept in slave-like conditions.  Those workers would not have died on the building sites of Qatar.

But those deaths are what engagement brings.

As the Guardian, getting itself back on track in my opinion, said at the end of its piece, “Following our moral compass and railing against obvious discrimination is all very well until it threatens to derail the possibility of travelling to and winning the World Cup.”

And that is exactly what Fifa wants.

Odegaard speaks out against world cup in Qatar; a country built on slavery

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5 Replies to “Qatar and the world cup, the protests grow”

  1. The Qatar government refute the fatality figures and claim not a single worker has died.
    Sky Sport quote them as saying….
    “The International Trade Union Confederation’s claim … represents a deliberate distortion of the facts,” the government said.
    “To date, after more than 14 million hours worked there have been no fatalities on World Cup project sites – not one.”

  2. Get your facts straight mate.
    “focusing on the 6500 workers who have died building the stadia”
    In reality, many of those 6500 mmigrant workers have died of:
    Chronic illnesses they had when they arrived.
    Traffic accidents.
    Heart Attacks
    The list goes on, but not all of those 6500 are working on stadia. Many are working in banks, hospitals, offices, shops, hotels, Airport, Metro, Refineries, etc

  3. Fortunately I have been running this blog for over 12 years and I am used to comments like this. You tell me my facts are wrong but produce zero evidence as to why you should be believed nor indeed who you are. The figure is not for deaths, but for deaths directly involved in stadium work.

  4. Alas Baldrick you claim those 6500 died and the go on give them life in Banks, hospitals etc. Are you sure you can read? Because you certainly cannot write!!

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