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Germany players wear T-shirts in protest against Qatar’s human rights record

Germany players wore T-shirts to show support for Qatar migrant workers before their 2022 World Cup qualifying win over Iceland on Thursday.

The starting side each wore a black shirt with one letter in white on it that spelled out ‘Human rights’.

It follows Norway players wearing T-shirts bearing the message ‘Human rights on and off the pitch’ before facing Gibraltar on Wednesday.

The World Cup is scheduled to get under way in Qatar on 21 November next year.

“We have the World Cup coming up and there will be discussions about it,” said Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka, who scored his side’s opening goal in a 3-0 win in Duisburg.

“We wanted to show we are not ignoring that.

“We have a large reach and we can use it to set an example for the values we want to stand for.”

After Wednesday’s protest, football’s world governing body, Fifa, said Norway will not face “disciplinary proceedings”, adding that it “believes in the freedom of speech, and in the power of football as a force for good”.

A report in the Guardian last month said 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since the World Cup was awarded in 2010.

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In response to that report, the Qatar organising committee said: “We deeply regret all of these tragedies and investigated each incident to ensure lessons were learned. We have always maintained transparency around this issue and dispute inaccurate claims around the number of workers who have died on our projects.”

The Qatari government said the “mortality rate among these communities is within the expected range for the size and demographics of the population”.

The country controversially beat rival bids from the United States, Australia, South Korea and Japan to host the tournament, with hundreds of thousands of construction workers arriving from overseas.

Qatar has been building seven new stadiums to stage the tournament, which has been moved to winter to avoid the country’s extreme summer heat.

Earlier this week, Amnesty International called on Fifa to press Qatar to honour promised labour reforms before the tournament.

In a four-page letter to Fifa president Gianni Infantino, the human rights organisation said “urgent and concrete action” was needed.

In response, the Qatar government said it “is committed to working closely with its international partners, including Amnesty International, to protect all workers and ensure the new laws are effectively implemented and enforced”.

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