Amnesty urges England players to stage protest over human rights record of World Cup hosts Qatar

Amnesty International has urged England footballers to consider following in the footsteps of other international teams and protest over the human rights record of World Cup hosts, Qatar.

The players of Germany, Norway and Holland have taken a stand during the latest round of international fixtures, speaking out at press conferences, standing arm-in-arm and wearing t-shirts displaying powerful slogans.

A report released last month by the Guardian, revealed how 6,500 migrant workers have died since Qatar was awarded World Cup host status. 

Germany sported powerful jerseys which spelled out ‘HUMAN RIGHTS’ in their own protest 

Norway's t-shirts asked 'next?' after several nations joined them in protesting against the issue

Norway’s t-shirts asked ‘next?’ after several nations joined them in protesting against the issue

And as reported by Sporstmail last week, the competition will bring in revenue of £3 billion for FIFA, which organises the tournament, but migrant workers in the Middle Eastern country are paid just £8.30-a-day to work on stadiums and infrastructure.

Sometimes workers go months without pay, or are not paid at all and live in squalid conditions, according to campaigners.

Amnesty wrote to FIFA earlier this month urging the governing body to do more to protect workers’ rights ahead of the tournament in 2022. 

Now Amnesty has asked England players to consider adding their voices to the growing protest ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Poland at Wembley, tomorrow.

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, told Sportsmail: ‘England players will obviously be guided by their own consciences, but if they end up following the lead of German, Dutch and Norwegian players we’d be extremely pleased to see that.

Joining other countries, Holland's players wore t-shirts which read 'Football Supports Change'

Joining other countries, Holland’s players wore t-shirts which read ‘Football Supports Change’

For as long as a decade, workers have been building stadiums for the 2022 World Cup

For as long as a decade, workers have been building stadiums for the 2022 World Cup 

‘Harry Kane and the England squad can read the numerous media reports about exploited migrant workers in Qatar and quickly see there’s a very serious problem.

‘Migrant workers in Qatar frequently pay massive, illegal recruitment fees to even get their jobs, and once in the country they can find themselves trapped in forced labour situations, with excessive working hours, under- or late payment, and can end up being deprived of their freedom of movement.

‘Without the two million migrants who’ve been building the stadiums, the roads and the wider infrastructure, Qatar simply wouldn’t be staging this World Cup and we need to see a legacy of genuine, durable labour reforms when it’s all over.

Qatar World Cup will be one of the most compact ever with all stadiums in a 35-mile radius

Qatar World Cup will be one of the most compact ever with all stadiums in a 35-mile radius 

‘It’s really important that FIFA, the FA, and individual teams and players use their influence to keep pressing the Qatari authorities to follow through on promised labour reforms.

‘Football likes to see itself as a force for good in the world, and with Qatar 2022 there’s a real chance for elite football to make its mark.’

Holland became the latest team to protest against Qatar’s human rights record before their World Cup qualifier against Latvia on Saturday. 

Norway’s players stood arm-in-arm during the national anthem on Wednesday last week, and sported t-shirts emblazoned with the words: ‘Human Rights – on and off the pitch.’ 

England captain Harry Kane has said the national squad will consider a Qatar protest

England captain Harry Kane has said the national squad will consider a Qatar protest

Amnesty International have called on FIFA to ensure Qatar implement their promised labour reforms. Pictured is a bunk bed in accommodation for migrant workers in Qatar

Amnesty International have called on FIFA to ensure Qatar implement their promised labour reforms. Pictured is a bunk bed in accommodation for migrant workers in Qatar

Later in the week, before their tie against Iceland, Germany displayed their own message. The team wore black tops, each with a corresponding letter on.

Having then stood in a line, with their arms also interlinked, the powerful statement spelled out ‘HUMAN RIGHTS’. 

England captain, Harry Kane has said the squad will consider a protest.

The England captain said on Saturday: ‘You saw the teams doing it a couple of days ago so I think it’d be a good conversation to have among the players. 

‘And from there I’m sure there’d be an outcome. But I can’t see there being anything against it. 

‘Like we’ve done with taking the knee, I think it’s important to have everyone’s point of view, everyone in a room discussing what they feel and what they want to do, and then we can make a decision as a group.’ 

FIFA's decision to award Qatar next year's World Cup has been protested since 2010

FIFA’s decision to award Qatar next year’s World Cup has been protested since 2010

Since 2017, Qatar has introduced several reforms aimed at benefiting migrant workers, including the removal of the Kalafa system, which tied workers to their employer meaning they could not leave their job regardless of abuses they suffered.

And in 2019, FIFA developed a sustainability strategy for the tournament, which ‘set out the ambitious plans to maximise the tournament’s contribution to people’s well-being, economic development’.

But Amnesty among other rights groups insist the reforms have not been properly implemented and ‘thousands of migrant workers continue to be exploited’.

FIFA  used its annual report earlier this month to hail progress made on workers’ rights.

FIFA president Gianni Infatino has hailed progress in workers' rights in Qatar this year

FIFA president Gianni Infatino has hailed progress in workers’ rights in Qatar this year

‘Since the FIFA World Cup 2022 was awarded to Qatar, there has been a major collective effort from the local authorities, our partner the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy [a government body] and the International Labour Organisation to bring about positive change.

‘And we are really pleased to see that this has materialised into concrete major progress in the area of workers’ rights, said Gianni Infantino, the FIFA President.

FIFA relies upon the Qatar government to monitor workers’ rights and the report quotes Mahmoud Qutub, the workers’ welfare executive director on the Supreme Committee.

‘We are driven by a commitment to ensure the people building our stadiums and venues are treated with the utmost dignity and respect.’ said Qutub. ‘Tangible changes in worker standards on our projects now serve as benchmarks across Qatar and the region.’

The build-up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been marred by migrant worker deaths

The build-up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been marred by migrant worker deaths 

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