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Australia become first World Cup team to criticise Qatar human rights record in moving collective statement

AUSTRALIA have become the first World Cup team to criticise Qatar’s human rights record.

A group of 16 Socceroos stars, including former Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Ryan, came together to release a moving statement.

Matt Ryan was among those to take part in Australia’s message
Veteran Alex Wilkinson also took part in the statement

In a video posted to the Australia national team’s social media pages, stars gave their support to migrant workers, as well as those in the LGBTQI+ community.

Ex-Celtic and Hull midfielder Jackson Irvine said: “We have learned that the decision to host the World Cup in Qatar has resulted in the suffering and harm of countless of our fellow workers.”

While experienced defender Alex Wilkinson added: “These migrant workers who have suffered are not just numbers.

“Like the migrants that have shaped our country and our football, they possess the same courage and determination to build a better life”

They added: “As players we fully support the rights of LGBTQI+ people, but in Qatar people are not free to love the person that they choose.”

Aussie stars vowed to try and inspire a “lasting legacy in Qatar” – continuing: “This must include establishing a migrant resource centre, effective remedy for those who have been denied their rights, and the decriminalisation of all same sex relationships.

“These are the basic rights that should be afforded to all and will ensure continued progress in Qatar.

“This is how we can ensure a legacy that goes well beyond the final whistle of the 2022 Fifa World Cup.”


The Socceroos have been drawn in Group D, and will take on France, Tunisia and Denmark.

Qatar’s kafala system enabled them to confiscate migrant workers’ passports as they built World Cup stadiums.

Same-sex relationships remain illegal in the World Cup host nation.

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly sparked uproar this week when asked by LBC about the prospect of gay football fans travelling to Qatar.

He said: “One of the things I would say for football fans is, you know, please do be respectful of the host nation.

“They are trying to ensure that people can be themselves and enjoy the football, and I think with a little bit of flex and compromise at both ends, it can be a safe, secure and exciting World Cup.”

England legend Gary Lineker responded to Cleverly’s comments on Twitter, writing: “Whatever you do, don’t do anything gay. Is that the message?”

Australia will take on France, Tunisia and Denmark in Qatar

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