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German Football Association DFB fights for human rights in Katar. Football teams to play world championship on clay. Bullshit — twice.

As reported by Der Spiegel, Dutch turf specialist Hendriks Gras has decided not to supply turf for the Qatar World Cup stadiums. The deciding factor for Hendriks Gras was an article in the Guardian at the end of February reporting on the unbearably high number of fatalities during the construction of the stadiums in Qatar. According to the Guardian report, more than 6,500 workers lost their lives.

Hendriks Gras has now drawn the consequences from this, and withdrawn from the business due to the blatant human rights violations in Qatar. On its website, Hendriks Gras proudly presents its role as a turf supplier at the 2006 World Cup in Germany as well as at several major tournaments. It is highly probable that the decision not to supply Qatar was not an easy one for a company that considers itself to be one of the world’s leading turf suppliers, if only because of its reputation and standards, not to mention the commercial decisions.

I find the decision of Hendriks Gras consistent and ethical. Nothing will change in terms of human rights if companies do not withdraw from countries where human lives are cheap and do not enter into business deals that involve the worst violations of human rights, oppression, wage slavery, child labor. Just as nothing will change if, when it comes to environmental protection in third world countries, it is always argued that everything is perfectly legal locally. If the only justification for a business is “if we don’t do it, the competition will”, then you are already de facto on the wrong side of the argument.

Hendrik’s weed decision is the right one, and the company should be congratulated for its courage. So while the right consequences are being drawn there – there is no right life in the wrong one – FIFA, and all those who want to make a profit from the giant machine, carry on blithely and do not stop talking down human rights violations in Qatar. Or – and that’s why this column is called Sustainabilty & Bullshit – stylize themselves as advocates of human rights. Here’s a statement from the ship of fools of the German football nation, our DFB: “The human rights situation in Qatar is being intensively discussed within the DFB, whose national team has not qualified for the tournament at this point in time” (…) The DFB is working within its sphere of influence, in accordance with its statutes and values, to ensure that abuses are addressed and human rights are respected.” (I quoted the wording from the Sportschau homepage, which had asked the DFB for a statement).

Dear DFB, do you seriously believe that anyone would believe you? That you stand up for human rights? That’s like Franz Beckenbauer: “I looked around and didn’t see any human rights violations anywhere”. Real bullshit.

Translated with (free version)

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