‘When will the Faroe Islands vote?’ Norway votes against Qatar World Cup boycott despite concerns over ‘human rights abuses’
Football bosses in Norway have voted overwhelmingly against a boycott of the controversial Qatar World Cup, shunning a motion brought about over “people dying in the name of football” and “abominable” conditions for workers.
Norway superstar Erling Haaland, who is expected to sign for top suitors for at least $150 million within the next year, and Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard had been among the stars to wear t-shirts brandishing messages including “human rights on and off the pitch” in recent international matches.
Rights groups have accused Qatar of causing thousands of migrant worker deaths through exploitation and dangerous conditions, although a spokesperson for the organizers of the winter tournament claimed that there have been only three deaths on construction sites for the showpiece since 2014.
The Norwegian Football Federation vote was thought to be in the balance, reflecting a country in which almost half of the population is said to be in favor of a boycott, with only 29 percent against it.
BREAKING: Decision on the proposed boycott of the 2022 World Cup has been made — Norway will not boycott the tournament in Qatar. ❌ https://t.co/xwwUuGeFHh
— 🇳🇴 Football (@NORftbl) June 20, 2021
In the event, 368 representatives voted against the move, with the 121 votes in support falling far short of the 50 percent required to approve the idea.
Midtable top-flight side Tromso had initiated the proposal, which had put a potential windfall of millions of dollars of income at stake if Norway qualify for the finals.
A spokesman for the Qatari organisers put the number of deaths on the construction sites at “three” since 2014, with another 35 having died away from their workplaces, challenging the heavy toll reported by some rights groups.
Nearly half of Norwegians, 49 percent, are in favour of a boycott, while only 29 percent are against, according to a poll published by newspaper VG on Wednesday.
“There is no doubt that this World Cup should never have been awarded to Qatar,” explained Tom Hogli, a former professional player who is now Tromso’s public relations officer. “The conditions there are abominable and many have lost their lives.”
When will the Faroe Islands hold their vote?
— Matthew Britten (@matthewbritten) June 20, 2021
In February, Tromsil said as part of a statement: “We can no longer sit and watch people die in the name of football.”
The extraordinary committee meeting to decide the outcome relied on the findings of an expert investigation.
Committee chairman Sven Mollekleiv had said that a “critical mass” would be required to drive a boycott through, including “an opposition that calls for it in the country, the UN to put pressure on the authorities [and] the business world, the trade unions and civil society to put pressure on it in the long term”.
Instead, the committee has made a recommendation of 26 measures, including some which are said to be designed to resist “sportswashing” by Qatar.
The landslide vote received a mixed response. “When will the Faroe Islands hold their vote?” asked one joker, referencing Norway’s relatively modest standing on the world stage.
I’m sure all the English players taking the knee at the moment will definitely boycott the Qatar World Cup though. Due to their strong moral compass and their fight against racism and prejudice and slavery ….. what’s the chances they forget to take a stand by then🤦🏼♂️hypocrites🤦🏼♂️
— the burrow (@coys1969) June 20, 2021
Think it’s going a bit unspoken that the Norway FA is voting on if it should participate in the Qatar World Cup.
Not saying it’s probable, but it’s very cool to see nations having that conversation.
— andrew (@andrewchorizo) June 20, 2021
“Think it’s going a bit unspoken that the Norway FA is voting on if it should participate in the Qatar World Cup,” said a supporter of the concept. “Not saying it’s probable, but it’s very cool to see nations having that conversation.”
Others pointed out that more high-profile teams appeared to have paid surprisingly little attention to the reported issues in Qatar.
“I’m sure all the English players taking the knee at the moment will definitely boycott the Qatar World Cup due to their strong moral compass and their fight against racism and prejudice and slavery,” said one sarcastically.
“What are the chances they forget to take a stand by then? Hypocrites.”
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