FIFA has been called “ridiculous and shameful” after President Gianni Infantino and Secretary General Fatma Samoura called on the 32 nations competing in the World Cup in Qatar to “focus on football” and “stop give moral lessons.”
The message went down like a lead balloon, especially with Amnesty International, given the Gulf state’s poor human rights record, treatment of foreign workers and controversial stance on LGBTQ rights.
Steve Cockburn of Amnesty International was “astonished” by FIFA’s message line, saying the human rights issued cannot be ignored.
Graham Arnold’s Socceroos were in the firing line of FIFA following their combined statement of protest late last month, in which 15 current national team players spoke in a video about events in the Arab country with which they did not they agreed.
The collective message was clear: the decision to award World Cup hosting rights to Qatar has “resulted in the suffering and harm of countless co-workers”, while also making reference to the fact that homosexuality is currently illegal in the country.
“We support FIFPro, the Wood and Building Workers’ International and the International Trade Union Confederation, seeking to embed reforms and establish a lasting legacy in Qatar,” the Socceroos’ video described.
FIFA has been called “ridiculous and shameful” after calling on the 32 nations competing in the World Cup, including the Socceroos, to “focus on soccer.”
FIFA does not want to see soccer “dragged into every ideological or political battle there is” during the biggest sporting event on the planet on November 20.
‘This must include the establishment of a resource center for immigrants, an effective remedy for those who have been denied their rights and the decriminalization of all same-sex relationships.
‘These are the basic rights that must be afforded to all and will ensure continued progress in Qatar…[and] a legacy that goes far beyond the final whistle of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”
The main objective of the exercise involving the Socceroos was an ‘opportunity to raise awareness about some important issues and help bring about change globally and nationally’.
While many applauded the Australian players for speaking out, others condemned them as well.
Television announcer Piers Morgan responded to the Socceroos’ stance, demanding that they keep sport and politics separate.
‘Nice virtue signaling words… I suppose you’ll boycott the tournament now?’ he posted for his 7.9 million followers on Twitter.
‘Or don’t you guys care THAT MUCH?’
Twitter lit up after FIFA’s letter to all 32 nations was made public, with this user emphasizing that “soccer is for everyone, regardless of gender, age and race.”
Another Twitter user addressed the reported number of deaths of migrant workers in Qatar.
Television announcer Piers Morgan responded to the Socceroos’ stance and demanded that they boycott the tournament.
With the World Cup kicking off in Doha, an oil-rich and highly conservative Middle Eastern state, FIFA has now urged footballers to focus on their preparation as athletes.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Secretary General Fatma Samoura have clearly had enough of political messaging, with their blunt letter.
“Please, let’s now focus on soccer,” the letter read.
‘We know that football does not live in a vacuum and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature around the world.
“But please don’t let football get sucked into every ideological or political battle out there.”
Earlier this week, Arab League states attacked ongoing criticism of Qatar, calling it a “smear campaign.”
They also felt that some Western nations, such as Australia, were being racist.
‘One of the world’s great strengths is its diversity, and if inclusion means anything, it means having respect for that diversity,’ read one letter.
‘No people, culture or nation is ‘better’ than any other.’
Nations including England, Germany and France are expected to wear “one love” bracelets in Qatar to promote inclusion and equality.
The hosts kick off the World Cup on November 21 when they take on Ecuador.