Bayern Munich baller Joshua Kimmich has highlighted how the furor over World Cup stadium slave labor and migrant deaths in Qatar is too little, too late, explaining that any boycott of the tournament should have started years ago.
Germany star Kimmich has criticized the delayed outrage to human rights abuses in pre-World Cup Qatar.
Speaking before his country’s qualifier clash with Romania on Sunday, the versatile left-back and midfielder said: “I think we’re 10 years too late to boycott the World Cup.
“It wasn’t allocated this year, but a couple of years ago. One should have thought about boycotting back then.
“Now we need to take the opportunity and use our publicity to raise awareness about things. But it’s not just down to us footballers… we should work together.”
In a nod to the contentious protests some teams have made before kick-off in their recent international fixtures, he added: “As footballers, we have a certain responsibility.
“We have the responsibility to talk about things. Regarding this topic, we tried that with a very spontaneous shirt activity.
“In football, you have the chance to point things out and we should continue doing that.”
Norway players wore t-shirts before their opening 2022 World Cup qualifier against Gibraltar in protest of Qatar’s human rights record pic.twitter.com/sfbNCUI5F1
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 24, 2021
While the German Football Association has announced that it does not support the boycotting of the 2022 World Cup, it has pledged to honor its players’ democratic right to protest.
A report in the Guardian last month found that around 6,500 workers have died in Qatar since the rights to host FIFA’s premier competition were awarded a decade ago.
In response, organizers claimed ahead of the weekend to have “always been transparent about the health and safety of workers”.
“Since construction [of the stadiums] began in 2014, there have been three work-related fatalities and 35 non-work-related deaths,” they insisted.
The best-looking person of it all: Kimmich. One of the frontliners of that Qatar Airways ad about fans, if I might remind you all. But yeah, the good boy narrative has to be supported.
— Anna (@iamanch) March 26, 2021
“[We have] investigated each case, learning lessons to avoid any repeat in the future.”
Kimmich himself has not come out of the discussion unscathed.
On Twitter, one user pointed out the hypocrisy of the 26-year-old and other Germany stars such as Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry and Manuel Neuer all playing for Bayern Munich at the World Club Cup final last month, which was held in one of the stadiums accused of being at the center of worker deaths and mistreatment.
Another balked at “performative activism on a cringe level,” while adding that Kimmich was once of the main stars in a Qatar Airways advert aimed at fans.