World Cup 2022: Erling Haaland and Co take stand against Qatar's human rights record


Erling Haaland and Co take stand against Qatar’s human rights record by calling for ‘respect’ on and off the pitch with powerful t-shirts before World Cup qualifier against Gibraltar

  • Norway wore t-shirts pre-match reading ‘Human Rights on and off the pitch’ 
  • Manager Stale Solbakken wore a shirt asking for ‘respect’ in a nod to Qatar 2022
  • There has been a debate in Norway as to whether they should boycott the event 

Norway’s national team took a stand against Qatar’s human rights record prior to Wednesday’s 2022 World Cup qualifier against Gibraltar.

Erling Haaland and his team-mates stood arm-in-arm for the national anthem as they sported white t-shirts which simply read: ‘Human Rights – on and off the pitch’.

Last month a revealing study by the Guardian detailed how 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since they were awarded the World Cup host status by FIFA. 

Norway wore t-shirts protesting the human rights record of 2022 World Cup hosts, Qatar

Norway wore t-shirts protesting the human rights record of 2022 World Cup hosts, Qatar

Manager Stale Solbakken wore a shirt demanding more 'respect' as Norway took a stand

Manager Stale Solbakken wore a shirt demanding more ‘respect’ as Norway took a stand

There has been great debate in Norway in recent weeks about whether the national team should elect to boycott the 2022 World Cup because of their human rights record.

Manager Stale Solbakken, who wore a shirt which read, ‘Respect – on and off the pitch,’ addressed the issue before the match, which Norway went on to win 3-0. 

‘It’s about putting pressure on FIFA to be even more direct, even firmer with the authorities in Qatar, to impose stricter requirements,’ he said.

Players wore the shirts in the warm-up having felt compelled to try and bring about change

Players wore the shirts in the warm-up having felt compelled to try and bring about change

Norway captain Martin Odegaard spoke on behalf of the players and their feelings on the fight for workers.

‘I have the impression that a lot of (players) are interested in this, care about it and want to do something to try and contribute in a good way,’ the Arsenal loanee said. 

Norwegian top-flight club Tromso started the discussion regarding the national team boycotting the tournament and several other clubs have since followed their lead.  

Solbakken later added to Norwegian TV2: ‘This is a little bit what we have been talking about, to put the focus on some of that that has been a discussion off the pitch. 

Captain Martin Odegaard said the players 'care about it' and want to do their bit for change

Captain Martin Odegaard said the players ‘care about it’ and want to do their bit for change

‘The boys were keen to do this and I am here as an example of that.’   

Norway’s football association (NFF) has established a committee to look into the concerns of clubs and players a year out from the World Cup.

According to the association, the committee will look at what the country ‘should do to respond to Qatar’s handling of human rights in the country, including studying, assessing and setting on which instrument Norwegian football shall use for its reaction’. 

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