COPENHAGEN : Denmark to wear kits highlighting human rights issues in Qatar.

Denmark's football team are instituting a series of measures to shine a spotlight on human rights issues in Qatar after qualifying for the 2022 World Cup to be held in the Middle East country, its football association { DBU } said.

Denmark has already sealed automatic qualification last month after topping their groups with nine wins and played their last qualifier on Monday.

The DBU said their two training kit sponsors will make way for a message critical of Qatar while they will also minimise the number of trips to the country to avoid commercial activities that promote the World Cup hosts events.

''DBU has long been critical of the World Cup in Qatar,'' its Chief Executive Officer Jakob Jensen said in a statement.

'' But now we are further intensifying our efforts and critical dialogue so that we take advantage of the fact that we have qualified to work for more change in the country.

''In addition, we have long drawn attention to the challenges facing [ world soccer governing body ]  FIFA and Qatar, and we will continue to do so.''

The federation added that it will continuously conduct due diligence on its choice of hotel and other services  in Qatar to see that labour rights are respected. It also said it would consider the possibility of new initiatives to improve conditions in Qatar.

In 2010, Qatar won the right to host the World Cup in a contentious FIFA vote that sparked corruption investigations into the entire bidding process. Evidence was not found by FIFA to warrant stripping Qatar of hosting rights.

The natural  gas-rich emirate has spent tens of billions of dollars to build hotels, a new transport system and lavish stadiums to cope with staging the event.

Earlier this week, Amnesty International published a 48-page report said thousands of migrant workers in Qatar were being trapped and exploited, with many facing '' wage theft ''.

The government in Qatar denied the accusations but acknowledged that its labour system was still a ''work in progress ''.

Jensen added he was pleased to see their commercial partners give up space on the training kits for messages to improve conditions for the migrant workers in Qatar.

''It's a very strong signal when our partners also engage in the fight for better conditions in Qatar,'' he added.

''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.''

On Thursday, Sweden's top football leagues signed an Amnesty International protest, giving a red card to FIFA and demands that the governing body stand up for the rights of migrant workers in Qatar.

The Swedish national team has not yet qualified for the World Cup, but it can still do so via the European playoffs.

''We can longer influence where the World Cup finals will be played, but we can put pressure and show FIFA that we think the decision was unacceptable already when it was made, and that  FIFA must take more responsibility for the migrant workers,'' said Jens T Anderson, the chairman of the Swedish Football Leagues.

The group represents the 32 men's soccer clubs in the Scandinavian country's top two divisions.

'' We think that the above criticism is important to present, and emphasize the importance of the lobby work of the Swedish Football association in Qatar,'' Andersson said.

Anna Johansson, the head of the Swedish chapter of Amnesty said in the same statement that ''migrant workers are indispensable for the World Cup 2022 to be arranged, but it must not happen at the expense of their lives and human rights''. [Agencies]


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