Norway’s Sorloth defends team’s human rights message to Qatar

March 25, 2021
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Alexander Sorloth of Bundesliga title-chasers RB Leipzig has defended his Norway team for protesting the human rights situation in World Cup hosts Qatar.

The Norwegians had launched the protest ahead of their opening qualifier at Gibraltar on Wednesday.

“We had a long meeting where we could all ask questions,” Sorloth said. “We were all 100 per cent agreed we wanted to send a message.”

Players first wore shirts with the writing “Respect — on and off the pitch” during the warm-up.

They then wore shirts with the writing “Human rights — on and off the pitch” for the pre-match playing of the national anthems.

Qatar was named hosts of the 2022 World Cup in 2010 but debate over a possible boycott by Norway —- should they qualify —- has intensified in recent weeks.

Several Norwegian clubs have called for a boycott after a British newspaper, The Guardian, said that 6,500 migrant workers from five Asian countries had died in Qatar.

This number is since they were awarded the tournament in 2010.

Qatar has said that reforms have been carried out.

Amnesty International has urged the ruling body FIFA to press Qatar into “urgent and concrete action” around further reforms.

But the human rights group is opposing a boycott because it will only make the situation worse.

The Norwegian federation will hold a special meeting on June 20 to discuss the issue.

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