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Danish Football Association divests controversial Qatar investments

The Danish Football Association (DBU) said Wednesday it had abandoned its controversial investments in Qatar, which it has been lobbying ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

The association revealed last week that it had become aware it held Qatari bonds, sparking controversy in Denmark as that clashed with its public stance criticising the emirate.

“We have divested them,” DBU head of communications Jakob Hoyer told AFP on Wednesday.

“This is a mistake we regret,” Hoyer stressed.

“For six, seven years, DBU has had a critical dialogue with Qatar about holding the World Cup in the emirate. In light of this dialogue, it was not a good signal to have these bonds,” he added.

DBU, which does not manage its assets directly, sold the bonds as soon as it became aware of their existence last week, according to Hoyer.

The football body had Qatari government bonds worth 191,000 Danish kroner ($29,000, 25,600 euros), representing a small fraction of its total investments of 219 million kroner.

No future investments will be made in Qatar, the federation said.

DBU, along with other Nordic football federations, is opposed to the World Cup being held in Qatar, and DBU director Jakob Jensen has described it as a “bad decision.”

In November, he gave several reasons in an interview with AFP, including “the human rights situation, the environment, building new stadiums in a country with very little stadium capacity.” 

DBU recently reached an agreement with sponsors to allow the Danish squad to wear shirts displaying “critical messages” during training at the tournament.

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