The Norwegian Association’s president, Lise Klavnes, has dismissed criticism from the Qatari World Cup hosts for her call for changes in FIFA’s handling of human rights. In a haunting speech at Congress in Doha, the former national player explained that the World Cup was awarded to Qatar eleven years ago “with unacceptable circumstances and unacceptable results”. The head of the World Cup organization, Hassan al-Thawadi, then accused him of not speaking to them in advance.
“I’m not disappointed. It’s not right. We had many discussions with the Supreme Committee (Organizing Committee) earlier, we read everything about it,” said Clevness german press agency In Doha: “We’ve dealt with this topic in depth, we’ve been very well informed.” The World Cup host has been criticized for years because of the human rights situation and the conditions of foreign workers.
Klavnes stressed that there have been some changes in Qatar, but there is still work to be done. “It is our job to maintain the pressure,” the 40-year-old said.
Klavness also sees the German Football Association as an important partner in FIFA for goals of greater respect for human rights and diversity. “I know that my statements are supported by the Nordic federations. It is important that we have alliances with Germany, Canada, Australia, all countries,” she said: “Countries that share our ethical point of view.” In the wake of requests to speak at Congress, however, he also acknowledged that the mood in world football is “divided”.
From his point of view, it is not about the fact that international football should take place only in Western countries. “The game should be played in Qatar, in Saudi Arabia, in Africa, in China. We shouldn’t be afraid to go to those countries,” Klavness said. But then there has to be a process that makes sure some values are preserved.
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