Despite calling it a “wrong decision” to host next year’s World Cup in Qatar, Denmark’s sports minister said on Wednesday that boycotting the tournament is not the appropriate response.
The day after Denmark qualified for the tournament, Minister Ane Halsboe-Joergensen told TV2 that the team will go to the World Cup.
Qatar has been the focus of criticism for its discriminatory laws and complaints about the poor working conditions of migrant workers hired to have the infrastructure of the highest football event ready.
No country has said it intends to boycott the World Cup, although some clubs in Norway, such as Rosenborg and Tromso, have spoken out in favor of such a move.
Any country that qualifies for the World Cup and refuses to play is exposed to sanctions from FIFA, including fines and being banned from participating in the playoffs for the next tournament.
Giving up competing in Qatar would also mean missing out on the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico. That tournament will have 48 teams, with 16 spots for teams from Europe instead of 13.
FIFA has yet to publish regulations for the 2022 tournament, but the 2018 edition stipulated a fine of at least 250,000 Swiss francs ($ 290,000) on the federation that withdraws its team 30 days before the tournament. Those selected who withdraw a month before the opening or during the tournament would be fined at least 500,000 Swiss francs ($ 580,000).
In 2010, Qatar won the World Cup venue by winning a controversial FIFA vote that sparked corruption investigations into the entire bid process. FIFA found no evidence that warranted taking away the seat from Qatar.
With its oil wealth, the emirate has spent billions of dollars building hotels, a new transportation network and luxurious stadiums to host the World Cup.
Denmark defeated Austria 1-0 on Tuesday to qualify for the tournament.