DUBAI: Qatar World Cup organizers have expressed their commitment to the protection of laborers’ rights, strongly rejecting accusations made against them by Danish sportswear maker Hummel.
The brand announced on Wednesday that Danish players would wear a “toned down” kit at this year’s FIFA World Cup in protest at migrant deaths.
The logo of the Danish sportswear brand and the Danish national badge are both barely visible on the shirts designed for the World Cup that kicks off next month.
In addition to the main red strip and a second jersey in white, a black and grey third strip was a sign of “mourning,” the kit company said.
Denmark’s training jerseys will carry “critical messages” after two sponsors agreed to have their logos replaced.
In an Instagram post referring to reports of alleged casualties among migrant laborers working on Qatar’s mega infrastructure projects, Hummel said the new jerseys were “a protest against Qatar and its human rights record.”
In a statement on Thursday responding to the accusations and protest, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said: “Since winning the right to host the FIFA World Cup, the SC has worked diligently alongside the Qatari government to ensure that the tournament delivers a lasting social legacy.
“Our commitment to this legacy has contributed to significant reforms to the labor system enacting laws protecting the rights of workers and ensuring improved living conditions for them.
“Through our collaboration with the UEFA Working Group and various other platforms led by FIFA and other independent groups, we have engaged in robust and transparent dialogue with the DBU (Danish Football Association).
“This dialogue resulted in a better understanding of the progress made, the challenges faced, and the legacy we will deliver beyond 2022.”
The committee disputed Hummel’s claim that the tournament had cost thousands of people their lives. It also rejected the “trivializing” of genuine commitment to protect the health and safety of the 30,000 workers who had built FIFA World Cup stadiums and other tournament projects.
That same commitment now extended to 150,000 workers across various tournament services and 40,000 workers in the hospitality sector, the statement added. “The onus should always be on countries to do more to protect the rights of peoples all over the world, including in Denmark.”
The statement noted that the SC’s work was recognized by numerous entities within the international human rights community as a model that had accelerated progress and improved lives.
“We urge the DBU to accurately convey the outcome of their extensive communication and work with the SC, and to ensure that this is accurately communicated to their partners at Hummel,” it added.