MPs unhappy at cabinet plan to send a delegation to World Cup

Photo: Niels Pluto
Photo: Niels Pluto

The cabinet and parliament are in disagreement about the government’s wish to send an official delegation to the World Cup in Qatar later this year, with MPs saying it would be sending out the wrong signal to the oil state.

But ministers are known not to want to insult Qatar in the middle on a energy crisis, NOS reported. ‘You achieve more by addressing concrete issues than walking away,’ foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra said on Friday.

The World Cup quicks off on November 20 and Hoekstra said he expects the cabinet to take a final decision next week.

The venue for the championship, allegedly secured by bribing FIFA officials, has been controversial from the start. Qatar has no football history and the tournament, traditionally played over the summer had to be postponed until the cooler winter months, disrupting the football season.

Human rights organisations have also denounced Qatar’s dismal human rights record. An estimated 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka hired to build the stadiums have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago, the Guardian said, although the true death toll may be even higher.

Big screens

Last week, Amsterdam’s local branch of D66 proposed that the city only give permission for public broadcasts of the games, if there are intermissions highlighting human rights abuses. GroenLinks has also made similar calls in Rotterdam. Eleven French cities including Paris and Marseille have said they will not show the games on large screens.

In April, companies sponsoring the Dutch national football team said they will not accompany the squad, because of the human rights situation there. And in March, national coach Louis van Gaal described the decision to award the event to the Middle Eastern country as ‘ridiculous’ and driven purely by commercial motives.

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