Denmark will wear shirts at the World Cup that criticize the human rights record of the host nation Qatar, with a black option unveiled to honor migrant workers who died during construction work for the tournament.
“The color of mourning,” kit manufacturer 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,” the company said.
The designs seem to complete a promise made by the Danish FA last November to wear clothing with “critical messages” at the tournament.
Although Fifa’s World Cup rules prohibit political statements on team uniforms, 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 color as the shirt, but remain visible. “We support the Danish national team all the way, but that is not the same as supporting Qatar as a host nation,” added Hummel.
Denmark, ranked No. 10 in the world, and who reached the European Championship semi-finals last year, have been one of the 32 World Cup teams most likely to take a strong stance against Qatar. The Danish FA also joined a European campaign launched last week for captains to wear heart-shaped, multi-coloured “OneLove” armbands in World Cup games.
Qatar has been fiercely criticized in the past decade for its treatment of migrant workers, mostly from South Asia, needed to build tens of billions of pounds worth of stadiums, roads, hotels and further infrastructure.
Danish officials have taken a leading role in a group of European football federations visiting Qatar to monitor the progress of promised reforms in labor laws.
Denmark have been drawn in a group with defending champions France, who typically wear a dark blue shirt, Australia, whose first-choice color is gold, and Tunisia, who wear white. The match schedule for the tournament lists Denmark as the home team with first choice of color only for its opening game on November 22 against Tunisia.