Denmark to Wear Training Kits with Human Rights Messages During 2022 World Cup in Qatar

With their qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar clinched, the governing body of football in Denmark has announced that their national team will replace sponsor logos on their training kits during the tournament with human rights messages.

The Dansk Boldspil-Union (DBU) made the announcement on Wednesday, Nov. 17, on its website. The training kit messages are part of “a series of critical initiatives to mark the continuing struggle for the improvement of human rights in Qatar.”

Danish players celebrate a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals of UEFA Euro 2020 in Baku, Azerbaijan, on July 3, 2021. (Photo courtesy UEFA)

“The men’s national team has had a beautiful and superb qualification and has in record time secured Denmark qualification for the World Cup. DBU has long been strongly critical of the World Cup in Qatar, but now we are further intensifying our efforts and critical dialogue so that we take advantage of the fact that we are qualified to work for more change in the country,” said DBU CEO Jakob Jensen in the announcement (translated into English by Google). “In addition, we have long drawn attention to the challenges facing FIFA and Qatar, and we will continue to do so.”

According to the Associated Press, “Qatar has faced criticism amid reports of discriminatory laws and conditions for the migrant workers preparing the country for the tournament.”

In addition to the training kit messages, the DBU will minimize staff and partner trips to Qatar “so that participation in the World Cup finals is primarily about sporting participation and not promoting the World Cup organizers’ events.”

The DBU is also talking with Danish fans about travelling to Qatar, “so they are informed about the situation in Qatar and know how to react when ticket sales begin.” It also plans to keep talking with FIFA and organizers in Qatar about labour rights, and to carefully choose hotels and other services in the country to ensure workers are treated fairly.

Danish players take part in a training session in Helsingor, Denmark, on June 20, 2021, in preparation for a UEFA Euro 2020 group stage match against Russia the next day. (Photo courtesy Reuters)

Sponsors Danske Spil (the Danish national lottery) and Arbejdernes Landsbank have agreed to give up their logo space on the training kits to accommodate the messages. These sponsors also “do not participate and do not do commercial activities in Qatar — unless the initiatives are activist and part of the critical dialogue,” according to the DBU.

“It is a very strong signal when our partners also engage in the fight for better conditions in Qatar,” Jensen said. “The partners support Danish football, the men’s national team and the sporting participation in the European Championships and the World Cup — not the individual host.”

Feature graphic courtesy Wikipedia