The Socceroos have already made waves in Qatar after the side called out the host nation’s human rights abuses last month, as FIFA entered the fray.

Australia’s soccer team took a united stand against the Middle Eastern nation in a video condemning its human rights record on the eve of the 2022 World Cup, which kicks off November 20.

Watch the world’s best footballers every week with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. LIVE coverage from Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A, Carabao Cup, EFL & SPFL. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >

Over 6,500 workers are believed to have died while building Qatar’s World Cup stadiums and there also deeply-held concerns about how gay fans will be treated during the tournament.

The video went viral — over 1.3 million views on Twitter as of writing — as 16 Socceroos stars read from a collective statement calling for “effective remedy” to Qatar’s human rights abuses.

However, Qatar organisers quickly hit back, claiming “no country is perfect”.

But a week on, FIFA’s leadership has called for teams to focus on the tournament rather than “allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists.”

Sky News reported it had seen the letter from FIFA president Gianni Infantino and secretary-general Fatma Samoura calling for the focus to be on the football.

“Please, let‘s now focus on the football!” the pair wrote to the 32 teams.

“We know football does not live in a vacuum and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all around the world.

“But please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists.

“At FIFA, we try to respect all opinions and beliefs, without handing out moral lessons to the rest of the world.

“One of the great strengths of the world is indeed its very diversity, and if inclusion means anything, it means having respect for that diversity. No one people or culture or nation is ‘better’ than any other.

“This principle is the very foundation stone of mutual respect and non-discrimination. And this is also one of the core values of football. So, please let‘s all remember that and let football take centre stage.”

The letter did not mention a request from several European nations to wear “One Love” armbands through the tournament. England and Wales said they would not follow any ban from FIFA.

The Australian players went viral for the video, taking a stand for the workers who died as well as LBTIQ+ community.

“Addressing these issues is not easy. And we do not have all the answers,” the Australian players said.

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

The Socceroos acknowledged that in the decade since winning hosting rights, the extremely conservative nation has implemented a number of reforms to improve conditions for migrant workers.

Nevertheless, the Australians said Qatar hosting the World Cup has “resulted in the suffering and the harm of countless of our fellow workers.”

Qatar responded 24 hours later via a FIFA World Cup spokesman.

“We have committed every effort to ensuring that this World Cup has had a transformative impact on improving lives,” the spokesman said.

“Protecting the health, safety, security, and dignity of every worker contributing to this World Cup is our priority.

“New laws and reforms often take time to bed in, and robust implementation of labour laws is a global challenge, including in Australia.

“No country is perfect, and every country — hosts of major events or not — has its challenges.”

However, the video was somewhat controversial with the likes of conservative commentator Piers Morgan blasting the video as “virtue-signalling”.

“Fine virtue-signalling words … presume you will now be boycotting the tournament? Or don’t you guys care THAT much?” Morgan tweeted.

“Either go and play football, or don’t go. Pretending you’re outraged by a country’s morality but then actively promoting the country is hypocritical.

“I find the faux moral outrage around ‘sports-washing’ increasingly irritating. If you want to make a moral stand, fine – do it properly & boycott the event/country that offends your morality. Or shut up and play sport.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *