A few days after the start of the Soccer World Cup Qatar 2022 The controversy over the various complaints of human rights violations in that country shows no sign of ending.
Various shadows have surrounded Qatar since 2010, the year in which the FIFA designated the emirate as the venue for its most important championship.
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Whether it is due to the accusations of bribes paid to the highest soccer entity to be elected or the innumerable cases collected by human rights organizations that report on workers in slavery, or even dead, in the framework of the preparations for the sporting event.
Thus, Qatar It seems to be doomed to go down in history as one of the scenarios that has generated the most questions, to the point of reaching the diplomatic level in recent months.
One of the most obvious demonstrations was launched in German soccer stadiums. Over the past few weeks, fans of Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin have unfurled huge banners demonstrating their opposition to the tournament and calling for a boycott.
“15,000 deaths for 5,760 minutes of the World Cup. Shame”, read a banner displayed by the Berlin team in reference to the workers who died during the preparations for the World Cup.
Both the FIFA and the Qatari Government have repeatedly denied these figures and placed the number of people who died around the event at just 3.
Human rights organizations have responded to these arguments by assuring that the authorities classified many of the cases as “deaths by natural causes” and highlighted the complexity of corroborating each case.
The response to the demonstrations in the German stands did not go unnoticed in Doha. A week ago, Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani described both the fans and the German government as “misinformed” and “hypocrites.”
“On the one hand, the German population is misinformed by government politicians; on the other hand, the Government has no problem with us when it comes to energy or investment associations”Al-Thani noted during an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Almost in parallel, the former Qatari soccer player and current World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman raised a new controversy by assuring for a program broadcast on German television that homosexuals have “psychological damage” and those who decide to go to their country should “accept our rules”.
Salman’s words address another of the great controversies around Qatar, where Amnesty International has denounced that conversion therapies were applied to transsexual people in centers financed by the government.
In addition, various organizations have denounced mistreatment against members of the LGBTI community in a country where various sexual manifestations are punishable by prison terms.
The statements by the former Qatari soccer player were described as “terrible” by the German Interior Minister, Nancy Faeser.
Faeser had precisely traveled to Qatar days before to meet with the local authorities seeking to confirm that the rights of sexual minorities would be respected.
This idea does not seem to be supported by the German population. A recent poll conducted by FOCUS magazine and the Civey Opinion Research Institute revealed that 65% of German citizens support boycotting the World Cup and oppose the matches being broadcast on monitors installed in public spaces.
Danes also against
Another government that expressed its disagreement with the situation in Qatar was the Danish one, which assures that it will not send any representative of the Executive to the sporting event.
Although they point out that this is because the Minister of Culture and Sports, Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen, must remain in office until a new government is formed, the real reason could be the rejection of the conditions in that emirate.
This has been reflected with the announcement of Prince Federico, who pointed out that he will not attend any stadium in Qatar. Later, the spokeswoman for the Danish monarchy would add that in fact no member of the royal family will attend the World Cup.
These announcements came shortly after FIFA banned the Danish team from wearing a “Human Rights for All” jersey during training sessions.
The sports entity assured that the ban is given in response to the request of the Qatari government not to launch “political, religious or personal” messages during the competition.
France does not want to politicize
A political figure who has taken a different stance on the issue is French President Emmanuel Macron.
This Thursday the 17th, the French president asked “not to politicize the sport” assuring that this type of discussion should take place “when the venues are attributed” and not a few days after it is held.
“These questions must be asked when events are attributed”,ç Macron said from Bangkok, where he is attending the APEC summit.
“Doubts, whether about the climate or about human rights, should not be raised when the event is already here, but when it is attributed,” he added.
Macron’s position is not fully shared within his country, where in early October local authorities in Paris and other cities announced that they would not broadcast the World Cup matches in protest of human rights abuses in Qatar.