Qatar’s ambassador to Germany called for fair treatment of his country as the World Cup host and drew a comparison with Russia as the 2018 tournament organizer. Abdulla Mohammed Al Thani said at a congress of the German Football Association (DFB) on the human rights situation in the Gulf Emirate on Monday in Frankfurt:
“If we go back four years, the World Cup was in a country, Crimea was just taken, people in prison, oppressed people, and there was no attention from Germany and not from any other country in Europe.”
His country has been the focus for twelve years and has initiated many changes. The situation in Qatar is “not perfect yet,” the ambassador admitted, and change will take time. “It’s not at 100 percent, it’s a journey,” he said. In Germany, for example, the issue of equal rights for men and women would have taken many years.
Al Thani wanted Germans who were in Qatar – like the record champions Bayern Munich after their traditional winter camps – to report on their positive experiences: “Say it publicly or keep your mouth shut,” the diplomat formulated in an unusually clear choice of words.
DFB President Bernd Neuendorf announced at the congress that shortly before the World Cup kicked off, he would once again urge the improvement of the human rights situation in the host country on a joint trip with Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD). Progress can be seen, but two points need concrete implementation, emphasized Neuendorf, as well as representatives of human rights organizations and trade unions.
For example, “working centers” would have to be set up to which workers could turn in the event of violations by employers. Neuendorf also called for the establishment of a fund for workers who died or were injured in the construction of World Cup stadiums. The world association FIFA is also responsible for this, Neuendorf made clear.
Incidentally, Al Thani was wrong in his assessment of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. As early as spring 2014, as a result of the Crimean crisis and against the background of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, voices were raised in the German media for the first time to boycott the 2018 World Cup. In July 2014, top German politicians massively criticized the awarding of the World Cup to Russia. However, the world football association said it wanted to hold on to host Russia.
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