Swedish FA drops training camp in Qatar over club concerns

AFP , Wednesday 8 Sep 2021

Swedish team
Spain's defender Aymeric Laporte (C) walks off as Sweden's forward Viktor Claesson (2nd,L) and team mates celebrate after their 2-1 win in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group B football match between Sweden and Spain, at the Friends Arena in Solna, Sweden on September 2, 2021. AFP

Sweden's football federation on Wednesday canceled plans for a training camp in Qatar in January after Swedish clubs expressed concern about the 2022 World Cup host's human rights record.

The federation has held a January camp in Qatar since 2019 with a team featuring mainly players from the Swedish league, which is in the middle of its offseason at that time.

However, it said Swedish clubs had made ``a unanimous assessment that the camp should not take place in Doha in the coming years.``

The move comes after the Gulf state has faced scrutiny from human rights organizations over the living and working conditions of migrant workers helping to build stadiums, transport and other construction projects ahead of next year's World Cup.

The federation said in a statement on its website that it would look for other alternatives.

''What is clear is that the January tour will not be in Doha, Qatar,'' said Hakan Sjostrand, the federation's secretary general.

The federation also stressed that it has ``done extensive work off the field to try to contribute to positive changes linked to human rights and the situation of migrant workers'' in Qatar.

The natural gas-rich emirate has spent tens of billions of dollars to build hotels, a new transport system and lavish stadiums to cope with staging one of the biggest sporting events.

Sweden is in a good position to qualify for the World Cup, having won its first three qualifying games.

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