Australia's trailblazing Qatar World Cup act sparks global praise

Australian football captain Matt Ryan (pictured left) and (pictured middle) World Cup trophy.
Australia and its players have become the first World Cup participating nation to collectively call out host nation Qatar for its human rights record. (Images: Socceroos/Getty Images)

The sport world has praised the Socceroos after Australia became the first World Cup participating nation to collectively condemn Qatar for their human rights record in a politically-charged statement.

The collective message from Australia's national team also demands improvement in worker rights in Qatar, labelling reforms in the World Cup host country as inconsistent since the start if the World Cup.

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Some 16 Socceroos players have released a video message expressing concern over human rights in Qatar, which will become the first Middle Eastern country to host the sport's showpiece tournament when the World Cup kicks off on November 20.

The players specifically addressed the horrible suppression of LGBTIQ+ rights in the conservative Gulf nation.

The Socceroos and captain Mat Ryan deliver a line-by-line statement in the video which raised the LGBTIQ+ rights suppression in Qatar.

"As players we fully support the rights of the LGBTI+ people," the players said.

"But in Qatar people are not free to love the person that they choose. Addressing these issues is not easy and we do not have all the answers."

A Guardian report in 2021 claimed more than 6,500 migrant workers had died in Qatar since the beginning of preparations fro the 2022 World Cup.

However, Qatar has consistently hit back at reports over the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar.

A statement from Football Australia had noted that Qatar had moved to implement reforms to help workers since winning the World Cup rights.

However, in a nation that has seen migrants help form our footballing culture, the Socceroos were adamant that the showpiece event comes second to the larger issue at hand.

"Whilst the reforms established in Qatar are an important and welcome step, their implementation remains inconsistent and requires improvement," the players say in their statement.

"We have learnt the decision to host the World Cup in Qatar has resulted in suffering and in the harm of countless of our fellow workers.

A FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 sign in Doha.
Qatar has been embroiled in a long-running human rights record as they prepare to host the FIFA World Cup. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images)

"These migrant workers who have suffered are not just numbers.

"Like the migrants that have shaped our country and our football, they possess the same courage and determination to build a better life."

The Australian players say there has been an "absence of respect and dignity" in Qatar for human rights.

The statement comes after players consulted various bodies including Australia's players' union Professional Footballers Australia, the global players' union FIFPro, the sport's governing body FIFA, Amnesty International and the International Labour Organisation.

The video and the Socceroos' appearance at the World Cup will be used to help raise awareness for human rights on the biggest sporting stage in the world.

Football fans at home and around the world called for more countries to follow Australia's statement.

Denmark's Qatar World Cup jersey

Australia is not the only participating team to point out Qatar's human rights record.

Last month, Denmark announced they would use their jerseys to protest the concerns in Qatar.

The simple jerseys with block colours of red and white represented their home and away kit during the World Cup.

However, the Danish Football symbol and the sportswear brand's logo are barely visible.

And the third kit is black to represent the colour of mourning to pay tribute to the huge numbers of workers that have reportedly died over the years building the stadiums for the tournament.

Kit manufacturer Hummel hit out at the tournament in a post on Instagram releasing the black third-choice design.

“While we support the Danish national team all the way, this shouldn’t be confused with support for a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives,” the company said.

with AAP

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