Australia’s national soccer team, the Socceroos, has issued a powerful video statement standing up for the rights of migrant workers and LGBTQ people in Qatar ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha in November.
Shared on Thursday Oct. 27, the video features 16 players, including the captain of the team, discussing their concerns about the host country’s human rights record.
Human rights groups have raised concerns about the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar.
Since it won the bid to host the tournament in 2010, Qatar has been building seven new stadiums, a new airport, roads, public transportation, hotels and a new city to host the final.
In February 2021, a Guardian report revealed that at least 6,500 migrant workers had died in the country since it won the bid.
Many of the migrant workers are likely to have died while working on the infrastructure projects, according to the Guardian.
Just last week, Amnesty International said in a report that migrant workers still faced abuses on a “significant scale”, with just one month until the tournament.
“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,” the Socceroo players said in their video.
The players spoke about how they were glad to see that progress had been made both “on paper and in practice” but noted that the reforms’ implementation had been inconsistent and require improvement.
“We have learnt that the decision to host the World Cup in Qatar has resulted in the suffering and in the harm of our fellow workers,” they said. “These migrant workers who have suffered are not just numbers. Like the migrants that have shaped our country and our football, they possess the same courage and determination to build a better life.”
They also spoke up in support of same-sex relationships and LGBTQ rights, saying that people in Qatar were “not free to love the person that they choose”.
They called for the establishment of a migrant resource center, effective remedy for those who have been denied their rights and the decriminalization of all same-sex relationships.
“These are the 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,” they said.