Denmark Reveals World Cup ‘Protest’ Kits Drawing Light To Qatar’s Human Rights Record - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Denmark Reveals World Cup ‘Protest’ Kits Drawing Light To Qatar’s Human Rights Record

In the face of strong criticism against the host nation for its human rights record, Denmark will wear a kit that includes a black option to honour migrant workers who died during construction work of the tournament.

As the countdown to the 2022 FIFA World Cup now begins, enthusiasm for what should be one of the biggest sporting events in the calendar has instead been overshadowed by mountain criticism against Qatar and its questionable human rights record. Ever since the host nation was first chosen from a free election between FIFA delegates, controversy has continued to court the run-up to the world cup. There was the issue of extreme heat, to the proposed switch from the promised summer tournament to one in winter, along with wider socio-cultural issues such as the country’s clear homophobia as homosexuality is considered illegal in Qatar. 

Not surprisingly, many have called for the tournament to be taken away from Qatar but with the world cup only a mere few months away, it seems unlikely that such a drastic change would occur. Though the inaction from FIFA’s officials and governing body towards making such a change is a clear source of disappointment for many, particularly given the capacity of sport to offer new perspectives and unite people from all parts of the world and backgrounds, teams are now taking it upon themselves to stand up to Qatar and shine a spotlight on the issues surrounding the world cup.

Denmark has revealed that it will wear shirts at the world cup that criticise the human rights record of the host nation. Produced by kit manufacturer Hummel, one option is a black colour way that will honour migrant workers who died during construction work for the finals tournament. As Hummel explained in a post, “The colour of mourning,” adding, “While we support the Danish national team all the way, this shouldn’t be confused with support for a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives.”

While there have been a host of issues surrounding this world cup, the treatment of workers hired to build the infrastructure has caused widespread anger. According to Human Rights Watch and the International Trade Union Confederation, migrant workers were vulnerable to systematic abuse while working not he project, being unable to change jobs or even leave the country without their sponsor’s permission. As Amnesty International reported in March 2016, Qatar not only engaged in forced labour but also forced employees to live in poor conditions and withheld their wages and passports. Amnesty International further accused FIFA of failing to stop the stadium from being built on “human rights abuses.”

A 2021 report from The Guardian suggests that more than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka died in Qatar since construction began on the world cup stadiums and infrastructure. The findings come from government sources which suggest an average of 12 migrant workers from these five south Asian nations died each week since the night in December 2010 when people first celebrated Qatar winning the right to host the World Cup. 

For Denmark, the team wants to draw attention to such issues. Though FIFA’s World Cup rules stipulate any political statements are prohibited when it comes to the team uniform, the three shirts comply with rules as they feature no words or symbols that are explicit in nature. Though the national team badge, Hummel logo and white chevrons are faded into the same single colour as the shirt, they are still visible. 

“We support the Danish national team all the way, but that isn’t the same as supporting Qatar as a host nation,” said Hummel. 

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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