Qatar World Cup boycott would not change conditions for workers

Toni Kroos has said that awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was “wrong,” but the Germany and Real Madrid midfielder added that he does not believe a boycott of the tournament would help the migrant workers in the Gulf state.

The 30-year-old became the latest footballer to add his voice to the debate on a possible boycott of the tournament after Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany staged protests at their recent World Cup qualifiers, wearing shirts highlighting the human rights conditions in the Gulf state.

Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
UEFA WC qualifiers on ESPN+: Stream games, replays (U.S. only)
Haaland, Norway take part in Qatar World Cup protest

Last month, a study released by the Guardian reported that 6,500 migrant workers have died since Qatar was controversially awarded the World Cup in late 2010.

Speaking on his podcast, Kroos called the conditions for the migrant workers in Qatar ahead of World Cup preparations “unacceptable.”

“You have to call a spade a spade when it comes to working conditions. It’s about many workers from Qatar, but also migrant workers, having to work non-stop in sometimes 50 degree heat,” Kroos said.

“At the same time, they also suffer from malnutrition, a lack of drinking water is insane, especially at these temperatures. As a result, safety at work is absolutely not guaranteed, medical care is not there and sometimes some violence is carried out on the workers.

“All those points are absolutely unacceptable. There can be no two opinions on that.”

But Kroos said that despite the inhumane working conditions, he fears the migrant workers would not benefit from a World Cup boycott.

“What is the point of boycotting such a tournament? Is it really the case that something will improve decisively there? Will the working conditions change? I think not,” he added, explaining that the situation at the World Cup construction sites does not differ from that at other construction sites.

“That means that a boycott would not change much in the working situations. To award the tournament to them, I think it’s wrong. But 10 years have passed since.

“Football can and must draw attention to problems, especially with its reach. But football also is not solely responsible for making everything better in the world.”