Dutch footballers scrimmage with labor migrants in Qatar ahead of World Cup start
The Dutch national football team met with 20 migrant workers who helped build stadiums for the World Cup in Qatar on Thursday evening. They chatted and played some football together.
“We are not blind. We are not deaf. We see all the news outlets saying so many things about what’s going on over here,” Oranje captain Virgil van Dijk told the press after the meeting. “For us, it was good to form our own opinion, have a look ourselves, meet people.”
We had some special guests today. 🧡— OnsOranje (@OnsOranje) November 17, 2022
After our training today, a group of migrant workers joined our players on the pitch. To talk, draw extra attention to their situation & to play football. ⚽️#NothingLikeOranje #FootballSupportsChange pic.twitter.com/G4Ts7fVP1R
Van Dijk added that he would have loved to meet with the migrant workers without all the cameras and press watching, so they could talk more in-depth and privately. “But we wanted to meet them regardless, and we’re happy that we did.”
Frenkie de Jong did manage to chat a bit with one man. “First, I asked him about the situation here. But I think the guys were so happy they were not thinking about it. He was just telling me to join Liverpool. He was trying to convince me.”
The meeting was another chance for Oranje to draw attention to human rights abuses in Qatar. National coach Louis van Gaal previously repeatedly called it ridiculous that Qatar was allowed to organize the World Cup.
Oranje is one of four national teams who arranged meetings with some migrant workers who built infrastructure for the FIFA World Cup, NU.nl reports. Players from Argentina, England, and the United States did the same. The workers who met with the football players were selected by Building and Wood Workers International. This independent international trade union is not affiliated with FIFA or the World Cup organizers in Qatar.