In a letter obtained by Sky News on Thursday, Fifa urged the nations competing in the contentious Qatar World Cup to “concentrate on sport” and quit “dispensing moral messages.”
Qatar has experienced criticism for its human rights record, including the treatment of foreign workers on World Cup infrastructure projects, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights.
In an anti-discrimination effort, captains from a number of important European countries, including England, France, and Germany, will wear armbands in rainbow colors with the motto “One Love.”
The Australian national team decried the “suffering” of migrant workers last week.
“Please, let’s get back to football!” Fifa president Gianni Infantino and secretary general Fatma Samoura said in a letter written to all 32 World Cup teams, which the governing body of football confirmed to AFP.
“We understand that football does not exist in a vacuum, and we are also aware that there are many political concerns and difficulties all around the world.”
“However, please do not pull football into every ideological or political fight that arises.”
Organizers in Qatar have defended the country’s human rights record.
Following the criticism of the Australian players, a World Cup official stated that establishing “strong” labor laws had also been a “difficult” for Australia.
Prior to the event, Arab League states blasted criticism of Qatar as a “defamation campaign.”
“One of the world’s great strengths is actually its diversity, and if inclusion means anything, it implies respect for that difference,” the Fifa letter said.
“There is no ‘better’ people, culture, or nation than another.”
On Wednesday, Qatar Labour Minister Ali bin Samikh Al Marri told AFP that plans for a new compensation fund for migrant employees were a “publicity stunt.”
He also charged some of the country’s detractors with “racist.”
“They don’t want to give the World Cup to a small country, an Arab country, an Islamic country,” Marri explained.