Qatar: Football Heroes and Responsibility

Johan Leman, 13 December 2021

That footballers want to play football, even if a tournament takes place in Qatar. Okey. Although it has apparently cost the lives of 6,500 guest workers (from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal), that is not their fault. Their contract did not provide for them to become “Gutmenschen” everywhere. Many of them are kneeling today against racism. Okey. That is nice. But now they could really do something very concrete, which is really within their capabilities. In Qatar there is a man, Abdullah Ibhais (from Jordan), who risks a 5-year prison sentence because 2 years ago he stood up for striking migrant workers (who were still alive), and who simply asked to be paid. They did not get paid for months. And they had their passports taken away, so they could not leave. Abdullah Ibhais, wo as media responsible in the World Cup organisation, defended their cause, was promptly accused, without any evidence, of “attempted bribery in the procurement of a social media campaign”.

Look, gentlemen footballers, that is an issue you can sort out in a jiffy. If the football teams from the EU countries that have already been placed let it be known that they really insist on the man being released, ‘due to lack of evidence’… if not, that they do not want to come and play there… then the man will effectively asap be released due to lack of evidence.

Why not give it a try? That would be a very concrete gesture. And it costs nothing.