Euro FAs' sharp message to FIFA over Qatar

Ten European football federations have responded to a letter from the governing body FIFA to let football take centre stage now ahead of the World Cup in Qatar by insisting that "human rights are universal".

In an open letter two weeks before the first World Cup game on November 20, they also said they would also continue to support a compensation fund for migrant workers in Qatar.

The build-up to the tournament has been overshadowed by wide-ranging criticism of the host nation in connection with the treatment of migrant workers, the criminalisation of homosexuality, and sustainability issues.

Qatar has carried out labour reform but rights groups say more is needed.

Qatar, though, says it's been the subject of an "unprecedented campaign" against a host nation.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino wrote a letter to the 32 teams asking "please let's now focus on the football" and "please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists."

The federations of Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales responded pointedly on Sunday.

They said they welcome that "significant progress has been made by Qatar" in labour laws and that assurances have been given "regarding the safety, security, and inclusion of all fans who travel to the World Cup, including LGTBQ+ fans."

But they also insisted that "embracing diversity and tolerance also means supporting human rights. Human rights are universal and they apply everywhere.

"We will continue to support the momentum for positive, progressive change and continue to advocate for a conclusive outcome and update on the two key outstanding issues we have been discussing with FIFA for a long time.

"FIFA has repeatedly committed to deliver concrete answers on these issues - the compensation fund for migrant workers, and the concept of a migrant workers centre to be created in Doha - and we will continue to press for these to be delivered," the letter said.