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Praise for Socceroos’ Qatar protest from unusual quarter

Socceroos launch video protest at Qatar human rights

Organisers of Qatar’s World Cup have praised the Socceroos for a politically-charged statement that criticises human rights in the Middle Eastern nation.

Australia’s elite footballers, in a collective video message, called for Qatar to decriminalise same-sex relationships and demanded improvement in worker rights in the country.

Qatar’s cup organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, have responded by saying “no country is perfect”.

“And every country – hosts of major events or not – has its challenges,” the committee said in a statement.

“This World Cup has contributed to a legacy of progress, better practice, and improving lives – and it’s a legacy that will live long after the final ball is kicked.”

Qatar will become the first Middle Eastern nation to host a World Cup when the tournament starts on November 20.

The nation’s human rights record has been under a spotlight from various organisations and footballers worldwide, including the Socceroos.

“‘We commend footballers using their platforms to raise awareness for important matters,” the committee said.

“We have committed every effort to ensuring that this World Cup has had a transformative impact on improving lives, especially for those involved in constructing the competition and non-competition venues we’re responsible for.

“Protecting the health, safety, security, and dignity of every worker contributing to this World Cup is our priority.”

The Socceroos, including captain Mat Ryan, acknowledged recent workplace reforms by the Qatari government but said “their implementation remains inconsistent and requires improvement,” the players say in their statement.

The cup organisers said recent reforms initiated by the Qatari government would change workplace culture but take time to fully implement.

“The Qatari government’s labour reforms are acknowledged by the ILO (International Labour Organisation), ITUC, (International Trade Union Confederation) and numerous human rights organisations as the benchmark in the region,” the committee said.

“New laws and reforms often take time to bed in, and robust implementation of labour laws is a global challenge, including in Australia.”

-AAP

Topics: Socceroos
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