Qatar World Cup: Harsh spotlight shone on human rights issues as Norwegian FA president gives scathing speech at FIFA Congress

Written by on April 1, 2022

Friday’s World Cup draw will see Qatar become the center of the footballing world, but the week’s build-up has been dominated by non-sporting issues.

At FIFA’s 72nd annual Congress on Thursday, Norway’s FA President Lise Klaveness delivered a stinging speech that labeled the decision to allow Qatar to host the World Cup as “unacceptable” and demanded that FIFA do more to defend its principles of human rights.

Klaveness’ comments came just a day after worldwide players’ union FIFPRO and a global trade union federation published an open letter that criticized Qatar for continued poor working conditions for migrants in the run-up to December’s tournament, even as it noted some “encouraging signs of progress.”

A former player for the Norwegian national team and the country’s first ever female football president, Klaveness said the sport’s “core interests” were


Questions have been continuously raised concerning human rights issues in Qatar ahead of the tournament, especially over the treatment of migrant workers.

With homosexuality illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison, the only current, openly gay player in men’s top-flight football Josh Cavallo said in November that he would be “scared” to play in Qatar.

In response to the Australian’s fears, Al Khater told CNN that he would be “welcome,” adding that Qatar is a “tolerant” and “welcoming” country.

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