Sweden waives Qatar tour after scathing criticism

The Swedish selection will not go to Qatar next January, as it has been doing since 2019. After a discussion on Tuesday evening with the representative of the country’s clubs, “it is clear that there is a consensus among the clubs against the fact to organize this tour, ”said Federation President Håkan Sjöstrand in a statement.

The trip was cringe-worthy even as the Swedish federation, along with other federations in the Nordic countries, is campaigning with Fifa to obtain improvements for migrant workers in Qatar. The president of the Stockholm AIK, Robert Falck, had thus qualified Tuesday the project of “idiot”, on the Swedish television TV4. The gas emirate is regularly condemned by international NGOs for the treatment given to the hundreds of thousands of workers, particularly from Asia, on the major construction sites of the World Cup that it is organizing in November and December 2022.

In a letter dated September 1 signed by Håkan Sjöstrand with his Nordic counterparts, the latter once again called on Fifa to “put more pressure on Qatari leaders” after the publication of a report by the NGO Amnesty International. According to the latter, “the Qatari authorities have failed to investigate the deaths of thousands of migrant workers over the past decade, despite evidence linking the premature deaths to unsafe working conditions.”

The Nordic countries at the forefront on the subject

In February, Qatar fiercely denied information from the British daily The Guardian amounting to more than 6,500 the number of migrant workers died in Qatar since the attribution in 2010 of the World Cup. Doha, however, refuses to make the exact death toll public.

The Nordic countries appear to be the most critical among the world federations against this controversial tournament. Norway had gone the furthest in submitting a possible boycott of the competition to a vote at an extraordinary congress in June, but the congress ultimately ruled out the option by a strong majority.

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