Norway’s players wore T-shirts bearing the message “Human rights on and off the pitch” in the lead up to its World Cup qualifier against Gibraltar in protest of the next tournament being held in Qatar.
In recent weeks, several top division clubs in Norway have suggested the national team boycott the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup due to the conditions faced by migrant workers in Qatar.
A Guardian report last month stated that more than 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since the country was awarded the right to host the World Cup back in 2010.
“The mortality rate among these communities is within the expected range for the size and demographics of the population,” the Qatar government told the Guardian in response.
CNN has not independently verified the Guardian figures.
Qatar controversially beat the likes of the United States and Australia for hosting rights, with the tournament being moved to November and December to avoid the country’s sweltering summer heat.
“It’s about putting pressure on FIFA to be even more direct, even firmer with the authorities in Qatar, to impose stricter requirements,” Norway head coach Stale Solbakken said before the game, according to Sky Sports.
FIFA’s Qatar media team were not immediately available for response when contacted by CNN.
“Was Qatar treated unfairly? Yes, in my opinion, very much so,” Nasser Al Khater, chief executive of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organizing committee, told CNN in late 2019. “I believe that Qatar has been judged by the court of perception very early on.”
Norway ran out 3-0 winners against Gibraltar and calls for the national team to boycott the Qatar World Cup carry extra weight, as this squad – which includes the likes of Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard – presents the country’s best chance of reaching a finals since it last qualified in 1998.
The Norwegian Football Federation announced on last week that it has set up a committee to decide what Norwegian football should do in response to Qatar’s human rights issues.