FIFA has called on teams participating in the Qatar World Cup to “focus on football” and to stop “teaching ethics lessons” against the host country.
“We know that football is not far from the real world, but we are also aware of the many political challenges and difficulties around the world,” FIFA wrote in a letter to the 32 teams participating in the Qatar Cup.
“But please don’t allow football to be drawn into ideological or political warfare,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino and secretary-general Fatma Samura wrote in a letter, urging teams to “focus on football” ”, to stop “proclaiming moral lessons”.
The letter comes in the context of Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup, which has faced many criticisms about human rights, the treatment of migrant workers, women’s rights and the LGBTQ community.
Homosexuality is banned in this Gulf country. As part of an anti-discrimination campaign, some captains of European teams including England, France and Germany have announced that they will wear rainbow armbands with the words “One love” when they compete in the 2022 World Cup.
Last week, the Australian national team also spoke of the “suffering” of migrant workers serving at the 2022 World Cup.
Amnesty International criticized FIFA, calling on it to take human rights issues seriously.
Steve Cockburn, head of economic and social justice at Amnesty International, said FIFA should address human rights issues and establish a compensation fund for migrant workers before games to ensure LGBT people are not discriminated against or harassed.
Facing a wave of criticism, FIFA’s secretary-general said the World Cup should be a “football festival”. “We welcome all people regardless of race, religion, society and sexual orientation. Qataris are always ready to receive warm hospitality,” Ms Samora said.
Earlier this week, Arab League nations also protested the criticism of Qatar, calling it a “smear campaign” ahead of the match.
“One of the greatest strengths in the world is diversity, and if that diversity is inclusive, that means we must respect that diversity,” FIFA’s letter reads. “No nation, culture or nation is ‘superior’ to another nation, culture or nation.”
Hong Han (follow AFP)