March 24 – Norway’s threat of a World Cup boycott in protest at Qatar’s human rights record is set to take centre stage in Gibraltar tonight when the visiting Norwegian team uses the 2022 qualifier to express its support for migrant workers helping the host nation prepare for the tournament.
Norway coach Staale Solbakken says his squad plan to use the occasion as an opportunity to express their reservations about the Gulf state’s conduct.
“We’re working on something concrete,” Solbakken told a press briefing, without revealing the details.
“It’s about putting pressure on FIFA to be even more direct, even firmer with the authorities in Qatar, to impose stricter requirements.”
Martin Odegaard, who was recently promoted to national team captain, said he felt the whole side wanted to make a statement.
“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 on-loan Arsenal midfielder told reporters.
The Norwegian Football Federation is expected to debate the issue at a special congress in June.
Norway last reached a major international tournament at the European Championship in 2000 and are in Group G of the World Cup qualifying campaign facing a tough battle to qualify alongside the Netherlands and Turkey, with Montenegro, Latvia and Gibraltar the three outsiders.
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