English and Welsh football leaders insist they will continue to campaign on human rights issues and compensation for migrant workers in Qatar after FIFA told World Cup teams to keep politics and morality lectures out of the tournament.
FIFA management issued the call to ‘focus on football’ in a letter exclusively revealed by Sky News on Thursday night, just after he was sent out to the 32 World Cup finalists.
The English and Welsh football associations issued a joint statement with eight other European federations as part of a UEFA human and labor rights working group, saying they would continue to press off-field issues.
They acknowledged Qatar’s progress in improving working conditions and said LGBTQ+ fans would be welcome despite the criminalization of same-sex relationships in the conservative Gulf nation.
But European nations said: “We also recognize that every country has issues and challenges, and we agree with FIFA that diversity is a strength. However, embracing diversity and tolerance also means supporting human rights. Human rights are universal and apply everywhere. “
FIFA sent the letter last week, as European nations last week asked FIFA for assurances that there would be compensation for any deaths of migrant workers in Qatar.
The UEFA task force said in a statement: “FIFA has repeatedly pledged to provide concrete answers to these questions – the migrant workers’ compensation fund and the concept of a workers’ centre. migrants to be created in Doha – and we will continue to push for these to deliver.
“We believe in the power of football to make new, positive and credible contributions to progressive and lasting change in the world.”
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The UEFA group also included Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland, who will play in Qatar, as well as non-qualifying nations Norway and Sweden.
They said they were reacting “to the latest developments and public discussions related to the challenges in the host country off the pitch, ahead of the sport soon taking center stage”.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino and General Secretary Fatma Samoura wrote to them last week: “Please don’t let football be drawn into all the ideological or political battles that exist.”