The Dutch national football team took a stand in protest against the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in early March.
A delegation from the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) has met migrant workers in Qatar after months of rights protests in the Gulf state ahead of next year’s World Cup.
“The World Cup is clearly working as a catalyst for labor rights,” said Gijs de Jong, the general secretary of the KNVB, who recently visited the Gulf state.
De Jong promised the Dutch team would advocate for a “better future” in Doha at the 2022 World Cup, including “symbolic” acts such as visiting migrant worker camps.
“Football should push for wider human rights change,” he added.
“As a legacy, we would of course like to ensure that the legislation and reforms agreed over the past few years would be permanent and fully implemented across the country. It’s about kafala, about heat protocols, about minimum wage. It would be even better if the work center introduced by BWI [Building and Woodworkers’ International] has been made permanent,” he added.
During the KNVB’s visit to Qatar, the delegation met with about fifteen migrant workers from different sectors. The delegation said that these visits “indicated that the situation is more complex than many people realize.
“The migrant workers we spoke to were very positive about the work of the FIFA World Football Association, as the changes are visible wherever they have a direct influence. They also see the World Cup as part of the solution. At the same time, a lot of things still go wrong,” de Jong said.
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In recent weeks and months, European calls for a boycott of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have increased on human rights grounds.
Norway first sparked the effort when a growing number of football clubs urged the country’s football federation to withdraw from next year’s World Cup in Qatar. This was later picked up by other teams across Europe, including the Netherlands and Germany.
In March, the Netherlands men’s football team wore T-shirts that read “Football supports change” in a statement against Qatar’s human rights record ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
The Dutch team said in a statement that “Qatar is where we would like to become world champions. But not without thinking outside the box. That’s why we use our football for change.
Speaking to Doha News in March, the Dutch football federation admitted that it was never in favor of Qatar’s bid for the 2022 edition of the World Cup due to its “lack of football history and harsh temperatures.
However, the KNVB later added that they did not believe a boycott would help.
“If you want to help improve the situation, go ahead and raise awareness,” KNVB told Doha News.. “The boycott does not help the people who work there.”
That month, Dutch team coach Frank de Boer told a press conference that internationally renowned human rights groups had advised them to go ahead with the tournament after talks with rights organizations.
“Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said if we went there, we could promote the cause better,” de Boer said.
It should be noted that Frank de Boer’s brother, Ronald de Boer, has been appointed Qatar Legacy Ambassador for the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) to implement and promote the initiatives legacy of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Questions have also been raised about the motivations behind boycott attempts of this magnitude, with experts pointing to the lack of similar action in other host countries with their own human rights abuses, such as Brazil and Turkey. Russia.
FIFA has previously argued that awarding the World Cup host to Qatar opens the door to social betterment, which was proven by a series of landmark labor reforms revealed earlier this year.
Despite Qatar’s progress on the conditions of migrant workers, Western media continued to report with what Qatari authorities called “sensational” headlines.
Among the major reforms made by Qatar was the introduction of the region’s first-ever non-discriminatory minimum wage, under which employers must pay allowances of at least QAR 300 for food and QAR 500 for accommodation in addition to the minimum monthly basic salary of QAR 1,000. .
Employers who pay their staff less than the minimum wage face a year in prison and a fine of 10,000 QAR.
Qatar has also significantly strengthened monitoring at all levels to detect violations, issue faster sanctions and further strengthen the capacity of labor inspectors.
So far, dozens of companies have been prosecuted by authorities for violating the new laws.
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