— Published 1 April 2022

Norwegian woman puts her foot down

The issue of human rights came up at the FIFA Congress in Doha on Thursday 31 March. One of the few women delegates present, Lise Klaveness, President of the Norwegian Football Association, spoke about the issue. The Scandinavian leader, a former international player, did not mince her words. After recalling that the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar had been taken in 2010 in an “unacceptable manner, with unacceptable consequences”, Lise Klaveness continued in the same tone: “Injured migrant workers or the families of those who have died in the preparation of the World Cup must be taken into account. There is no room for employers who do not secure the freedom and the safety of World Cup workers. No room for leaders who do not welcome women’s football. No room for hosts that cannot legally guarantee the safety and respect of LGBT+ people.” Unsurprisingly, the two unnamed individuals targeted by the Norwegian were keen to respond. Cautiously, Gianni Infantino suggested that while not everything was “perfect”, the “work that in other countries took decades has been done here in a few years.” As for the director general of the 2022 World Cup’s supreme organising committee, Hassan Al-Thawadi of Qatar, he said he was “disappointed” that Lise Klaveness had made this speech without first discussing the issues with the Qatari authorities.