Soccer-Amnesty calls on England to follow Netherlands, Germany in Qatar protest


(Reuters) - Amnesty International said on Wednesday it hopes England will join other countries in protesting against the conditions of migrant labourers in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup there.

Players from Germany, the Netherlands and Norway wore shirts before World Cup qualifiers voicing concern over human rights in Qatar, following a report last month in Britain's Guardian newspaper that at least 6,500 migrant workers had died in Qatar in the decade since it won the right to stage the event.

Qatar's World Cup organisers say health and safety reforms introduced since the World Cup bid have led to a decline in mortality among workers over the past decade. Their press office did not immediately respond to an email seeking further comment on Wednesday.

"England players will be guided by their own consciences, but if they end up following the lead of German, Dutch and Norwegian players we'd be extremely pleased," Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said in a statement to Reuters.

"Harry Kane and the England squad can read the numerous reports about exploited migrant workers in Qatar and quickly see there's a very serious problem.

"It's really important that FIFA, the FA, and individual teams and players use their influence to keep pressing the Qatari authorities to follow through on promised labour reforms."

England manager Gareth Southgate has said the Football Association (FA) and Amnesty International were in talks regarding the situation.

"My understanding is Amnesty don't want the tournament postponed or moved," Southgate told a news conference on Saturday ahead of England's 2-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Albania.

"They want to work and highlight issues that maybe could be improved. It's important we work with organisations like that."

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Graff)

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