′No reason to cast doubt′ on Qatar: Germany will not boycott 2022 World Cup | Sports | German football and major international sports news | DW

Germany became the first national team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after beating North Macedonia 4-0 in Skopje on Monday.

Earlier Monday, the German football association (DFB) published an interview on its website with vice president Peter Peters in which he was asked about the possibility of Germany’s boycotting the tournament because of Qatar’s human rights record.

“Despite being demanded by some, a boycott will not bring [Qatar] and its people forward,” the former Schalke director said. “Nongovernmental organizations and other experts have confirmed in our discussions that Qatar is a land in transition.”

According to the DFB man, Qatar has seen “many positive developments” in the past few years, and it is football’s role to support those developments.

No reason for doubts

“I have no objective reason to cast doubt on the honest and decent conduct of the Qataris,” Peters concluded.

Peter Peters speaks into a microphone with the logos of various sponsors behind him

Peters says Qatar is making progress

A day before the interview had been made public, a report in Germany painted a different picture of the outlook in Qatar. According to investigative sports show Sport Inside, by public broadcaster WDR, guest workers in Qatar still face many of the issues authorities claim to have been tackling. According to the report, many companies still do not pay the minimum wage of 1,000 Qatari riyals (275 USD) a month, and many workers still experience months-long delays in receiving their wages.

One former guest worker interviewed by the show says he’s still owed seven months’ wages. Another former worker said that many of the changes promised by the Qatari authorities are “on paper only.”

Support for boycott

In Germany, calls to boycott the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have received support from within football and society.

A March 2021 poll by German magazine Der Spiegel found that 54% of Germans support such a boycott with  a further 14% offering conditional support. Furthermore, 72% said they’d want the DFB to be more vocal in criticizing the human rights situation in Qatar. Another poll, by public broadcaster WDR, found that 65% of Germans believe Germany should not take part in the 2022 World Cup.

Protests against Qatar have become common in German football

Protests against Qatar, like this one at Bayern Munich in 2020, have become common in German football

Organized fans, too, had their say about Germany’s participation in the tournament. ProFans, an umbrella organization of Germany’s ultra scene, demanded that the DFB do not take part in the 2022 World Cup due to the human rights situation in the country, calling the tournament “a lavish football festival on the graves of thousands of migrant workers.”

Protests off the pitch

According to ProFans, Germany taking part in the Qatar World Cup would signal “the end of ethics and dignity.”

Organized fans across Germany have been protesting against the country’s involvement in German football, mostly in connection with Bayern Munich’s sponsorship agreement with Qatar Airways.

A total of 6,500 guest workers have died in Qatar since the World Cup was awarded to the country in 2010, according to British daily newspaper The Guardian.

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