Thursday, December 9 2021

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) — Sweden’s top soccer leagues signed an Amnesty International protest on Thursday that gives “a red card to FIFA” and demands that the governing body stand up for the rights of migrant workers in Qatar during next year’s World Cup.

Qatar has faced criticism amid reports of discriminatory laws and conditions for the migrant workers preparing the country for the tournament.

The Swedish national team has not yet qualified for the World Cup, but it can still do so via the European playoffs.

“We can no longer influence where the World Cup finals will be played, but we can put pressure and show FIFA that we think the decision was unacceptable already when it was made, and that FIFA must take more responsibility for the migrant workers,” said Jens T. Andersson, the chairman of Swedish Professional Soccer Leagues.

The group represents the 32 men’s soccer clubs in the Scandinavian country’s top two divisions.

“We think that the above criticism is important to present, and emphasize the importance of the lobby work of the Swedish soccer association in Qatar,” Andersson said.

Anna Johansson, the head of the Swedish chapter of Amnesty, said in the same statement that “migrant workers are indispensable for the World Cup 2022 to be arranged, but it must not happen at the expense of their lives and human rights.”

On Monday, the Danish national soccer team said its players will wear “human rights messages” on their training clothes in Qatar. The Danish soccer federation also said it would also minimize the number of trips to Qatar for staff and partners so “participation in the World Cup finals is primarily about sporting participation and not promoting the World Cup organizers’ events.”

In 2010, Qatar won the right to host the World Cup in a contentious vote that sparked corruption investigations into the entire bidding process. Evidence was not found by FIFA to warrant stripping Qatar of the hosting rights.

The natural gas-rich emirate has spent tens of billions of dollars to build hotels, a new transport system and lavish stadiums to cope with staging the event.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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