The role of human and labor rights at major football events, as well as the importance of running inclusive tournaments that promote tolerance and respect, took center stage today at a conference organized by the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA) and the Royal Dutch Football Association. (KNVB) at the headquarters of the RBFA in Tubize, Belgium. Opening the conference, RBFA CEO Peter Bossaert and KNVB General Secretary Gijs de Jong jointly underlined the importance of ensuring and protecting human and labor rights worldwide football, especially in relation to the 2022 FIFA World Cup™. “We know this is a sensitive subject, with different opinions, but our intention has been to provide an information platform so that everyone knows everything about this subject in order to form their own opinion” , Bossaert said of the decision to host the conference on the day Belgium and the Netherlands meet in the UEFA Nations League at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels. “Since 2017, we can talk about a real change in Qatar because the kafala system has been abolished, and although there is still a lot to do, Belgium will play in Qatar later this year in order to show the positive change that was done .” De Jong added: “We are a grassroots organization and we want to take responsibility, both on and off the pitch. We were not comfortable with the decision-making process followed for this World Cup, and several years ago we proposed the ‘Pact of Amsterdam’ to ask for human rights to be added to the bidding procedures for world events, our request was initially ignored, but credit goes to Gianni Infantino who agreed, and he added human rights to the process, so that by the time the 2026 FIFA World Cup was awarded by the FIFA Congress in 2018, that was included, and c t is a very positive step for the present and for the future. Speaking specifically about the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the KNVB General Secretary added: “We have made efforts, like being on the pitch at the Qatar for doing due diligence and talking to the media from what we have seen. We did it, because we must base ourselves on facts to defend human rights and take our responsibilities. “All workers in all sectors have our attention, it’s the same for everyone,” the RBFA CEO added, referring to the two associations’ existing approach, which will be in place until the end. finals, then beyond. “Lasting change has come to Qatar, and change has come through football, and we want to use the power of the FIFA World Cup to ensure that change stays for good. And when it comes to LGBTQI people +, our question to FIFA and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy in Qatar is to ensure that everyone is welcome, that everyone can safely attend the FIFA World Cup and can voice his opinion. Speaking via video message, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Promoting Our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas praised the role of the RBFA and the KNVB as two associations of forefront on and off the pitch in the defense of human and labor rights across the world. , while acknowledging the proactive steps taken by tournament organisers, including FIFA and UEFA, using their platforms to further promote these rights. FIFA’s Head of Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination, Andreas Graf, highlighted how the 2022 FIFA World Cup is acting as a catalyst for lasting worker welfare reform in Qatar, as recognized by widely recognized international organizations, and said preparations, including extensive training programs, are underway as the tournament moves ever closer to operational mode. He also referred to the concrete efforts made by FIFA and its partners in Qatar to ensure that the 2022 FIFA World Cup is a welcoming and safe event for fans around the world, saying: “We have an excellent cooperation with our Qatari counterparts No change would have been achieved without the efforts of the Supreme Committee and the Ministry of Labor to advance human rights and other rights in the country Representatives of UEFA, Sports Group of the European Parliament, the International Labor Organization (ILO), Amnesty International and Belgian trade union organizations also gave their point of view on human and labor rights in Qatar within the framework of an open and constructive exchange.