Qatar 2022 is blowing a wind of change in the history of football being the first FIFA tournament hosted in a Middle Eastern country. It will also be the first FIFA event played in the most advanced stadiums in the world: Qatar has built seven new stadiums and restored another one using high-class technology (air conditioning systems, strict security measures, etc.). But this football event will also enter the story of FIFA World Cup 2022 because of a new color used by the Danish team: it’s black, the color of mourning, certainly not a typical color for football apparel. But something has caused the destiny of Qatar 2022 to become a completely unpredictable “story in the story”, having Denmark decide to put the color of mourning instead of its red-and-white kit.
The reason for Denmark to wear a black jersey
What led Denmark to change its team’s kit from the red-and-white national colors to black? According to what sports apparel maker Hummel revealed in a recent interview, the responsible for the Danish football club decided to engage in a protest at rights abuses in Qatar. It’s not a mystery that Qatarian businesses hired foreign workforce for all the FIFA World Cup projects. The problem is that the migrant workers had their human rights unrespected in multiple work situations and conditions. Hence, thousands of foreign workers who came from developing countries in Asia to work in Qatar found death during work. Poor protection kits and a lack of security measures caused this terrible human disaster. Meanwhile, the magnificent state-of-the-art stadium took shape and came to life.
As Hummel said, Denmark decided to “tone down” its team’s apparel to demonstrate against Qatari authorities. So, the company designed for the Danish team a shirt with the logo of the company purposely faded and with the one of the national football club quite scarcely visible. Moreover, the company’s typical features of the chevrons have also been toned down. This new apparel design is what the Danish players will wear on the field: the first red jersey and the second white jersey will enter the story of the Qatar World Cup 2022. But the highlight of the entire Danish kit is the third jersey, a black shirt expressing the sense of mourning for what happened to several workers during the construction of the stadiums in Qatar.
Qatar’s response to Denmark
Immediately, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy of Qatar sent a furious and sharp reply to Denmark. According to what the committee reported, Denmark would be trying to trivialize Qatar’s commitment to migrant workers, which was protective of the health and ensured the safety of about 30,000 workers employed for all the tournament projects. While Qatar admits that only three workers died in and for work-related accidents, the international community claim that the Gulf state is omitting the actual number of deaths.
On the other side, the Qatari committee defends by saying that the state made specific reforms internationally accepted by human rights devoted groups. According to the committee, Qatar improved the average life condition of thousands of migrant workers while making the construction process faster. Dialogue and ongoing communication are what the Qatari committee wishes about the relationship with the Danish federation.
Denmark becomes a paladin of human rights
Denmark aroused to action against the bad condition of the foreign workforce in Qatar soon after the team qualified for the competition when the federation said that the training kit sponsors for its two jerseys agreed to convey a strong message against Qatar to support rights. This action comes with a commercial consequence for Qatar, which will be limited to participation in dedicated FIFA-related events for a smaller number of trips.
The action of Denmark evoked a crowd of international mobilization about the problem of rights in Qatar for migrant workers. On a hand, the British Football Association asked Qatar to offer the families of the migrants who lost their lives financial compensation. Not much later, two big names in the field of rights protection, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, spoke up and asked FIFA to press Qatar to compensate for it.
France on the way to boycott FIFA 2022
As a domino effect, other countries are taking a role in the process. As A7labet sports expert Kazem recently reported, France released an official statement saying that Paris joins the big screen boycott of Qatar World Cup 2022 over human rights claims. This form of a demonstration against the abuse of human rights in Qatar consists in not allowing giant screens to broadcast any World Cup event. With this announcement, France doesn’t only want to support Denmark, but it wants to avoid potential social conflicts related to human rights. Groups of rights advocates could seize the opportunity to start social instability.
An important aspect is that the decision of Paris came weeks before the start of the Qatar World Cup, spreading through the country: several other cities in France decided to follow the same way to express their moral position against rights abuses. All forms of rights abuses contradict the basic principles of sports in general: it’s intolerable that FIFA leaders aren’t taking official action or at least requesting authorities to research the actual number of deaths in work-related accidents.
Will be the Qatar World Cup 2022 the worst one in History?
A lot of rumors arose around the start of FIFA 2022. Human rights abuses are only the tip of the iceberg in a world that is over-concerned about environmental issues: the World Cup will start on 20th November and end on 18th December, being hosted in air-conditioned stadiums with several electric energy-alimented technologies. The impact of energy consumption on the environment will create a bad reputation for Qatar and the entire tournament event. International football clubs and millions of fans are already voicing their opinion about FIFA’s experience in Qatar as a not-good episode in the long brilliant history of football.