Public pressure, yes. Boycott, no. Shortly before the end of the European qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the director of Human Rights Watch called on the German Football Association and the world association FIFA to protest more strongly against human rights violations in the host country.
“The DFB must clearly state where the deficits in human rights lie. On the one hand, to make it clear:” We are aware of where we are going. “And on the other hand, to prevent the World Cup from being exploited for propaganda purposes,” said Wenzel Michalski in an interview with the “Tagesspiegel”.
“FIFA, the DFB, everyone can and must exert pressure,” demanded the human rights expert. “These values - fairness, equality, freedom of expression – are far from being sufficiently enforced in Qatar,” said Michalski. The DFB is “more aware of its responsibility” than FIFA as the World Cup organizer.
However, the DFB must ensure that “the service providers with whom the national team in Qatar deals have respected human rights”. The sponsorship commitment of FC Bayern Munich through the airport in Doha is “questionable”. The record champions must “say publicly that the airport was built by workers who were exploited,” said Michalski.
With the games against Liechtenstein on Thursday in Wolfsburg and in Armenia on the following Sunday, the World Cup elimination round ends for the national team. Participation in the finals in Qatar from November 21 to December 18, 2022 is the group winner. In the first three qualifying matches in March, the DFB stars campaigned for universal human rights with actions before kick-off and criticized the conditions for guest workers in Qatar.
Flick means actions well
National coach Hansi Flick had approved these actions – still under his predecessor Joachim Löw. “Signs like the rainbow band or kneeling stand for the values of the national team and the DFB, for the values of football. We don’t have to talk much about that with the players, we will always work for that,” said the 56-year-old of the ” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung “. Most recently, however, the focus was on sporting aspects.
Michalski hopes to be able to explain the situation in Qatar to Flick and the national players before the tournament. At the World Cup, the DFB stars would “only find impressive architecture and great luxury. Everything is glamorous: shopping malls with the best designer brands, American sports bars with American beer, nice waiters in beautiful uniforms,” said the 58-year-old. But: “Flick should rely on what human rights activists, trade unionists and journalists have found out in their research,” said Michalski.