Qatar 2022 boycott: Norwegians wary of pull-out, Danes petition for parliamentary debate

March 15 – Calls in Norway for a boycott of next year’s World Cup in Qatar continue to be fiercely debated following an initiative launched recently by top-flight clubs Tromso and Odds Ballklubb.

Reports suggest a decision will be made in June – assuming Norway qualifies – with the Norwegian FA president warning of the dangers of any withdrawal .

Campaigners in Denmark, meanwhile, have now joined in by protesting human rights conditions Qatar that have come under intense global scrutiny.

Last month The Guardian revealed that more than 6,500 South Asian workers have died in Qatar over the last decade, many of whom were allegedly working on World Cup construction sites.

Qatar’s organising committee has highlighted several reforms that were introduced last August to improve labour laws and to end the exploitative ‘kafala’ system.

In a recent interview, Norway’s new captain Martin Odegaard stopped short of calling for a boycott but added: “Whether there is a boycott or not, I think it’s important to focus on how we can make changes.”

Terje Svendsen, president of the Norges Fotballforbund, warned against anything that could jeopardise the national team’s hopes of participating.

“Any decision now on a boycott of the finals would probably mean we would not be allowed to compete in the qualifying matches,” he said.

“It would not be fair play to participate in a qualification tournament after deciding we did not want to participate in the finals.”

In Denmark, human rights activists have started a petition which, if it receives 50,000 signatures, will have to be debated in parliament.

“We do not believe that we, as a democratic nation striving to live up to global human rights, can benefit from having some of the country’s most prominent sporting players participate in the finals and blue-stamp a dictatorship like Qatar,” it reads.

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