Norwegian footballers want fair play for migrant workers

17 months before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, players and members of the Norwegian football team and the Norwegian Football Federation (NFF) wore t-shirts bearing the message “fair play for migrant workers” before its game against Greece on 6 June. 

The football players made the gesture in support of the migrant workers in Qatar, especially those who laboured in constructing the World Cup stadium and other related infrastructure.   

NFF also announced that it plans to contribute to the establishment of a migrant wokers' center. It said that it will sit down with the Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI), Fellesforbundet and LO to find out how it can help in the best possible way. 

“I have great faith that such a center will be an important gathering point and a driving force for the further development of Qatar. We in the NFF encourage FIFA to support this project, and at the same time, invite Norwegian players to contribute with us,” NFF President Terje Svendsen said. 

The center will be constructed under BWI’s auspices. It is envisioned to be a safe place for migrant workers where they can, among other things, seek legal assistance and receive training in safety, working environment and workers' rights. 

The center will also be an arena for strengthening social dialogues between workers and Qatar authorities, and promote the building of workers' committees.

“Football must take responsibility. We are now trying our best so we can improve the working and living conditions of migrant workers in Qatar. However, football cannot do this alone. In Denmark, the Danish Football Association met with the Danish government this week about the Qatar World Cup. We will do the same here and request a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Storting's Foreign Affairs Committee and the Petroleum Fund to review our measures and see how we can jointly contribute to lasting change,” Svendsen said. 

National Football Team Manager Ståle Solbakken agreed with Svendsen.

“This is a concrete and good measure demonstrating the Norwegian football community’s contribution to improve migrant workers’ rights. ‘Stronger together’ is our slogan. I agree with Svendsen that now is the time for more to come out and help. Norwegian business has been present in Qatar for over 50 years. I hope that Norwegian politicians and business people get involved in the establishment of this center,” Solbakken said. 

(Photos: NFF)