Australia has waded in on the controversy surrounding the World Cup by demanding Qatar makes urgent reforms before the tournament gets underway.
The World Cup is just a matter of a few weeks away, but Qatar has come under scrutiny for its handling of human rights as well as its approach to the LGBTQI+ community.
And now Australia has become the first country competing at the World Cup tournament to openly criticise Qatar, and 16 members of the Socceroos set-up have released a video decrying Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and the decriminalisation of same-sex relationships.
In a video message, the players said: “Addressing these issues is not easy, and we do not have all the answers.
“We stand with FIFPro, the Building and Wood Workers International, and the International Trade Union Confederation, seeking to embed reforms and establish a lasting legacy in Qatar.
“This must include establishing a migrant resource centre, effective remedy for those who have been denied their rights, and the decriminalisation of all same-sex relationships.
“These are the basic rights that should be afforded to all and will ensure continued progress in Qatar and a legacy that goes well beyond the final whistle of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”
Qatar has been in the eye of the storm, but Australia has been bold in its political defiance, and they have ensured they have made themselves heard. Protests have been organised in the run-up to the World Cup, but Australia wants to make a statement both on and off the pitch, regardless of who they upset in the process.
The Socceroos — who have been placed in Group D alongside world champions France, Denmark, and Tunisia — are no strangers to the World Cup, and they will be making their sixth appearance at the tournament. In many respects, they will be dark horses and they will have obstacles to overcome to escape from their group. And from a betting perspective, they will certainly be viewed as outsiders. Indeed, our leading betting online in Australia sites, which include bet365, has priced the Aussies at a distant 350/1 to clinch the World Cup.
More intriguingly, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has since responded to Australia’s video message, indicating they are doing all they can to protect workers.
In a statement, they said: “We commend footballers using their platforms to raise awareness for important matters.
“We have committed every effort to ensuring that the 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.”
Of course, Qatar has been widely lambasted for its approach to human rights, but they will be desperate to ensure the World Cup passes off without any incident.
Australia, meanwhile, has shone a spotlight on Qatar and they have been brave to slam the hosts. Hopefully, Australia’s plea will force Qatar to bring about reforms more quickly than originally planned.
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