Denmark to protest Qatar's human rights record at World Cup with faded shirts

The kit appears to back up a promise made last year to wear clothing with critical messages in Qatar. Credit: Hummel via Instagram/PA

The Danish football team will wear kits that protest Qatar’s human rights record at the World Cup – with a black option honouring migrant workers who died during construction work in the country.

Controversy has long surrounded the decision to name the Gulf state, where homosexuality is illegal, as the tournament’s host nation.

Criticism has compounded over the past decade as hundreds of workers, mainly from south Asia, died while helping with the country’s unprecedented construction programme.

The Danes’ kit manufacturer revealed designs on Wednesday to back up a promise made by the country’s soccer federation last November to wear clothing with “critical messages” in Qatar.

“The colour of mourning,” Hummel said in a post on Instagram releasing the black third-choice design.

“While we support the Danish national team all the way, this shouldn’t be confused with support for a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives.”

Though FIFA’s World Cup rules forbid political statements on team uniform, the three Denmark shirt designs in all-red, all-white and all-black appear to comply with no words or symbols that are an explicit statement.

The national team badge, Hummel logo and decorative white chevrons – a famous feature of the Denmark shirt since the 1980s – are faded into the same single colour as the shirt.

“We don’t wish to be visible during (the) tournament,” Hummel said. “We support the Danish national team all the way, but that isn’t the same as supporting Qatar as a host nation.”

Denmark, the world's No. 10-ranked team, which reached the European Championship semi-final last year, has been one of the 32 World Cup teams most likely to take a strong stance against Qatar.

The Danish federation also joined a European campaign launched last week for captains to wear heart-shaped, multi-coloured ‘One Love’ armbands in World Cup games.

The gas-rich emirate has been fiercely criticised in the past decade for its treatment of migrant workers to build tens of billions of pounds’ worth of stadiums, metro lines, roads and hotels.

Danish officials have taken a leading role in a group of European soccer federations visiting Qatar to monitor the progress of promised reforms in labour laws.

Denmark has been drawn in a World Cup group with defending champion France, which typically wears a dark blue shirt, Australia, whose first-choice colour is gold, and Tunisia, which wears white.

The FIFA match schedule for the tournament lists Denmark as the home team with first choice of colour only for its opening game on November 22 against Tunisia.

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