German football team commits to promote labour rights in 2022 World Cup

Germany’s National football Team (DFB) has just issued a statement on the controversies hounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. In a position paper released on 23 April, DFB said that it is committed to respecting all internationally recognised human rights, especially in the context of international matches and tournaments. It said that sports can build bridges to promote human rights. 

“Human rights are universally applicable, indivisible and are not up for debate. In a world marked by many conflicts, we believe that understanding, exchange and cooperation – especially in and through sport – are necessary to create the basis for improvements across political, religious, and cultural boundaries,” DFB said. 

DFB also recognised that the process leading to Qatar being awarded the FIFA World Cup hosting rights has been viewed as problematic in many ways, especially with regard to human rights and sustainability. To keep itself updated on the latest issues and initiatives on the Qatar World Cup, DFB said that it is in contact with different groups, such as BWI. 

“As regards Qatar, we are in contact with independent experts and representatives from sport, politics and other areas of society. We are listening, informing each other, assessing ideas, and thinking about joint projects. Participants include, among others, FIFA, UEFA, other national associations, NGOs (e.g. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Building and Wood Workers’ International), the German government (foreign office), the International Labour Organisation, and fan organisations,” DFB said. 

DFB also recognised BWI and the other advocates’ efforts to improve and reform Qatar’s labour and social standards even as it maintained that there is still more progress to be made. “The fact that, among others, Amnesty International, the International Labour Organisation, the Building and Wood Workers’ International and the independent FIFA Human Rights Advisory Board have pointed out that improvements and reforms with regard to labour and social standards have already taken place only strengthens our resolve,” it said. 

BWI Vice-President Dietmar Schäfers welcomed DFB’s commitment to human and labour rights and intention to work closely with trade unions.  

“We are glad that DFB has identified BWI as one of the voices it chose to listen to in the context of improving the living and working conditions of Qatar’s migrant workers, especially the migrant construction workers who built the World Cup stadium and other related infrastructure,” Schäfers said.

“We look forward to a fruitful and meaningful partnership with the DFB in the promotion of labour rights in the realm of sports,” Schäfers concluded. #