Qatar’s World Cup organizers on Thursday hit back at the Australian soccer team’s criticism of the Gulf state’s rights record, insisting that “no country is perfect”. Responding to Australia’s call for better treatment of migrant workers and the LGBTQ community, a WM spokesman said the introduction of “robust” labor laws had also been a “challenge” for Australia. “We have made every effort to ensure that this World Cup has a transformative impact in improving the quality of life,” said the organizers’ Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy.
“Protecting the health, safety and dignity of all workers contributing to this World Cup is our priority.”
Sixteen members of Australia’s men’s soccer team appeared in a short video on Thursday explaining their position.
They acknowledged Qatar’s attempts to improve conditions for migrant workers but said the changes had been “inconsistent”.
“We have learned that the decision to host the World Cup in Qatar has caused the suffering and harm of countless of our colleagues,” midfielder Jackson Irvine said in a video in which 16 players commented.
The Qatari committee highlighted the reforms to construction site safety and working conditions that have been implemented over the past five years.
These were praised by international unions and FIFA, although all called for more progress.
“New laws and reforms often take time to settle and consistent enforcement of labor laws is a global challenge, including in Australia,” the spokesman added.
“No country is perfect, and every country, host of major events or not, has its challenges.”
The Football Australia board has urged the high-energy Gulf state to take a softer stance on same-sex relationships. Homosexuality is a criminal offense in Qatar.
The Qatar committee made no mention of LGBTQ rights, but the spokesperson said: “This World Cup contributed to a legacy of progress, better practice and better life – and it’s a legacy that will live on long after the last ball.” .”
Captains from a number of Europe’s leading footballing nations – including England, France and Germany – will wear armbands with rainbow colors and the message ‘One Love’ in an anti-discrimination campaign throughout the World Cup.
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