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27 Oct, 2022 13:39

Footballers accused of virtue-signaling over Qatar message (VIDEO)

Australian players issued a plea ahead of the FIFA World Cup next month
Footballers accused of virtue-signaling over Qatar message (VIDEO)

The Australian men’s football team has faced accusations of social justice grandstanding after issuing a video message in support of LBGT and migrant rights in Qatar, ahead of the FIFA World Cup next month.

Qatar will become the first Arab nation to host the football showpiece in November and December, although the build-up to the tournament has been mired in debate surrounding the country’s treatment of migrant workers and gay citizens.

Australia will be among the 32 teams competing in Qatar, and players from the ‘Socceroos’ made a collective statement in a somber message shared by their nation’s football federation.

Around a dozen stars contributed to the black-and-white clip, in which they acknowledge that they are not “experts” but nonetheless call for sweeping reforms in the World Cup host country.

“The decision to host the World Cup in Qatar has resulted in the suffering and the harm of countless [numbers] of our fellow workers,” reads one part of the message.

The footballers claim that progress has been made with migrant conditions, but that the implementation of reforms “remains inconsistent and requires improvement.”

The Socceroos stars also call for “the decriminalization of all same-sex relationships” in Qatar, stating: “As players, we fully support the rights of LGBTI+ people, and in Qatar people are not free to love the person they choose.”

But the latest message from the Australian team was met with skepticism from some, including UK TV personality and avid football fan Piers Morgan.

“Fine virtue-signaling words… presume you will now be boycotting the tournament?” Morgan wrote as he shared the video with his 7.9 million followers on Twitter. “Or don’t you guys care THAT much?”

Morgan doubled-down on his stance in a subsequent tweet, writing: “Either go and play football, or don’t go.”

“Pretending you’re outraged by a country’s morality but then actively promoting a country is hypocritical.”


Australia’s message follows T-shirt campaigns by the likes of Denmark, Norway, and Germany during qualification matches for Qatar.

Elsewhere, it has been reported that the captains of several European teams are planning to wear ‘One Love’ armbands at the World Cup – even if FIFA prohibits the move.

A report shared by Uk newspaper The Guardian in February 2021 claimed that 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since the country was awarded World Cup hosting rights back in 2010.

Qatar has introduced labor reforms for migrants, while officials also say gay football fans will be welcome at the showpiece.

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, recently said that his country had been subjected to an “unprecedented” campaign by outside forces intent on slandering it before the World Cup.

“It soon became clear to us that the campaign continues, expands and includes fabrication and double standards, until it reached an amount of ferocity that made many questions, unfortunately, about the real reasons and motives behind this campaign,” said the Qatari royal.

Hosts Qatar kick off the tournament when they play Ecuador at Al-Bayt Stadium on November 20.

Australia play their first match against defending champions France on November 22, and have been drawn in a group also containing Denmark and Tunisia.