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NFF president blasts FIFA's human rights record

Former lawyer says FIFA has 'long way to go' on human rights and highlights migrant workers' plight

Lise Klaveness, the former lawyer who, earlier this year, became the first woman to be appointed president of the Football Association of Norway (NFF), has criticised FIFA in a speech to the federation’s 2022 congress.

She used the address to say that FIFA still has much to do to ensure that, when exercising its duties, it acts in accordance with the principles of human rights, equality and democracy.

“In 2010, the world cup was awarded by FIFA in unacceptable ways with unacceptable consequences, Klaveness said. “Human rights, equality, democracy, the core interests of football, were not in the starting eleven until many years later. These basic rights were pressured on as substitutes, mainly by outside voices. FIFA has later addressed these issues, but there is still a long way to go.

“The migrant workers injured or families of those who died in the build-up to the World Cup should be cared for. FIFA, all of us, must now take all necessary measures to really implement change.”

Klaveness added: “FIFA has recognised its responsibility under the UN Guiding Principles for Human Rights and now includes human rights criteria for future World Cup hosts. It is vital that the current leadership wholeheartedly continue in this way, truly moving from policy to impact.

“There is no room for employers who do not secure the freedom and safety of world cup workers. No room for leaders that cannot host the women´s game. No room for hosts that cannot legally guarantee the safety and respect of LGBTQ+ people coming to this theatre of dreams.”

Klaveness said that, last year, Norway had debated a boycott of the World Cup in 2022, but instead our members voted at congress for dialogue and pressure through FIFA as the best way to make needed changes.”

Klaveness has a master’s degree in law, and has worked as a lawyer, an assistant judge in the district court of Oslo and a special advisor in the National Bank of Norway.

An employment law specialist, Klaveness also worked as a private practice lawyer at the Norwegian law firm Hjort.

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