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Australian footballers call for reform in Qatar ahead of next month’s World Cup

<i>Alex Livesey/FIFA/Getty Images</i><br/>The Socceroos have called on World Cup host Qatar to legalize same-sex marriage and improve the rights of migrant workers ahead of the tournament.
FIFA via Getty Images
Alex Livesey/FIFA/Getty Images
The Socceroos have called on World Cup host Qatar to legalize same-sex marriage and improve the rights of migrant workers ahead of the tournament.

By Jacob Lev, CNN

Australia’s men’s footballers, the “Socceroos,” have called for reform in Qatar ahead of next month’s World Cup.

In a video message produced by Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and released on Wednesday, 16 Socceroos called on the host country to recognize and legalize same-sex marriage and improve the rights of migrant workers.

The PFA also released an open letter to Qatar expressing the need for reform.

“(We are) seeking to embed reforms and establish a lasting legacy in Qatar,” the players said in the video.

“This must include establishing a migrant resource center, effective remedy for those who have been denied their rights, and the decriminalization of all same-sex relationships.

“These are the basic rights that should be afforded to all and will ensure continued progress in Qatar — a legacy that goes well beyond the final whistle of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”

CNN has reached out to the State of Qatar government for comment.

The Guardian reported last year that 6,500 migrant workers had died in the country in the 10 years following Qatar’s successful bid to host the tournament in 2010, most of whom were involved in low-wage, dangerous labor, often undertaken in extreme heat.

The report — “categorically” denied by tournament organizers — did not connect all 6,500 deaths with World Cup infrastructure projects and has not been independently verified by CNN.

Qatar has also been the subject of criticism for the country’s anti-homosexuality laws.

The 2022 World Cup kicks off on November 20 and runs through December 18 in the Gulf nation. Australia’s first match is on November 22 versus France.

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