Germany join Norway’s protests. World football’s governing body FIFA said on Thursday they would not punish Norway’s players for wearing t-shirts which said ‘Human rights – on and off the pitch’. FIFA says it believes in freedom of speech and that the power of football is a force for good. The squad were protesting about human rights in Qatar, who are hosting the World Cup, and working conditions.
Germany joined Norway to protest Qatar’s human rights record by wearing t-shirts displaying the words ‘human rights’ ahead of Die Mannschaft’s World Cup qualifier against Iceland.
The Norway side, including Arsenal’s on-loan midfielder Martin Odegaard and Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, wore t-shirts saying ‘Human rights – on and off the pitch’ as they lined up for the game, which they went on to win 3-0.
On Thursday evening, Germany joined them in protest.
Although players have been punished by FIFA and other football bodies in the past for making political statements, no action will follow from Norway’s protest.
“FIFA believes in the freedom of speech, and in the power of football as a force for good,” the organisation said in a statement.
“No disciplinary proceedings in relation to this matter will be opened by FIFA,” they added.
Qatar’s World Cup organising committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Norway team’s protest.
Norway have one of their best chances in recent memory to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1998 but a movement to boycott the tournament, started by top-flight club Tromso, has recently gathered pace in the country.
Tromso have asked the Norwegian soccer federation to consider boycotting the World Cup following an investigation by British newspaper The Guardian, which claimed 6,500 migrant workers have died in work-related accidents since the tournament was awarded to Qatar in 2010.
Responding to the Guardian report, Qatar’s government said a “very small percentage” of over 1.4 million expatriates in the state had passed away between 2011 and 2019.
The government said, “the mortality rate among these communities is within the expected range for the size and demographics of the population.”
The government’s statement said it had taken steps to improve health and safety of workers in the last two decades and had imposed punishments on business owners who violated safety standards.