Germany follow Norway’s lead by protesting against the human rights record of World Cup hosts Qatar with t-shirts before qualifying win over Iceland… as Bayern Munich star Leon Goretzka promises fans the squad ‘are NOT going to ignore it’
Germany became the second team to protest Qatar’s human rights record ahead of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers with Joachim Low’s side producing a powerful t-shirt message.
Norway took matters into their own hands on Wednesday when Erling Haaland and Co wore t-shirts prior to their qualifier against Gibraltar as they called for more respect.
Low’s side followed the lead of the Scandinavian country with a protest of their own in the moments before they took on Iceland in their opening 2022 World Cup qualifier.
Germany wore powerful t-shirts spelling out ‘HUMAN RIGHTS’ in their protest against Qatar
Midfielder Leon Goretzka said the squad ‘are not going to ignore’ Qatar’s human rights record
A German side including Chelsea’s Kai Havertz and Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan wore black t-shirts, each with a corresponding letter on.
Players then stood arm in arm to spell out ‘HUMAN RIGHTS’ in a clear stance against the treatment of workers in Qatar ahead of the World Cup.
Last month a revealing study by the Guardian detailed how 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since they were awarded the World Cup host status by FIFA. The actual death toll figure remains unclear.
Fan groups in Germany have been calling for action from Low’s side on Qatar’s human rights record and they listened – and acted – prior to their win over Iceland.
A poll by popular German outlet Der Spiegel poll concluded that 68 per cent of people believe boycotting Qatar 2022 is ‘about right’ or ‘absolutely right’.
Norway wore t-shirts protesting the human rights record of Qatar on Wednesday evening
It went on to find that 83 per cent of poll voters said it is a mistake to hold the World Cup in Qatar.
Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka said on the human rights campaign: ‘We have a large platform to stand up for our values. The message is pretty clear.
‘We talked about it within the team. We have the World Cup ahead of us and we want to make it clear to society that we are not going to ignore it.’
It was a strong show of solidarity which keeps the pressure on FIFA just 24 hours after Norway brought the story back into sharp focus.
There has been great debate in Norway in recent weeks about whether the national team should elect to boycott the 2022 World Cup because of Qatar’s human rights record.
Manager Stale Solbakken, who wore a shirt which read, ‘Respect – on and off the pitch,’ addressed the issue before the match, which Norway went on to win 3-0.
‘It’s about putting pressure on FIFA to be even more direct, even firmer with the authorities in Qatar, to impose stricter requirements,’ he said.
Manager Stale Solbakken wore a shirt demanding more ‘respect’ as Norway took a stand
Martin Odegaard said Norway’s players ‘care about it’ and want to do their bit for change
Solbakken later added to Norwegian TV2: ‘This is a little bit what we have been talking about, to put the focus on some of that that has been a discussion off the pitch.
‘The boys were keen to do this and I am here as an example of that.’
Human rights organisation Amnesty International sent a letter to FIFA president Gianni Infantino this week as they dialled up pressure on football’s governing body.
FIFA ‘has a responsibility to mitigate human rights risks that arise from the increase in business in these related sectors created by the tournament,’ their letter said.
‘At a minimum, this means FIFA should use the full extent of its influence to urge Qatar to urgently implement and enforce the government’s own reforms to ensure that the labour rights of all migrant workers are protected.’