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30 Mär 2021

Håvard Melnæs, The Guardian (UK)

Could a Norway boycott of the Qatar World Cup change the future of football?

[A] surprise statement [on a Guardian report on worker deaths in Qatar], released by Norwegian top-flight club Tromsø on 26 February... quickly gained national traction... six more leading clubs... followed suit, urging the Norwegian FA to formally boycott the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Fourteen of 16 supporters’ groups in the top flight are joining the demand...

Last weekend, the Norwegian national team, including goal-scoring sensation Erling Braut Haaland and Arsenal player Martin Ødegaard, wore T-shirts championing respect and human rights, while the national teams of Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark had similar initiatives before their games...

A new cross-club supporters’ initiative, Vår Fotball (Our Football), was formed aiming to prevent Norwegian football becoming part of “sportswashing”...

The Norwegian FA... president, Terje Svendsen, claimed that dialogue with the Qatar government may indeed have made life somehow easier for the migrant workers.

So are we witnessing a wind of change in international football, or is this all moral window-dressing? The demonstrations against the World Cup in Qatar may backfire. Because, where do you draw the line?