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Denmark ‘will not be silenced’ over human rights in Qatar, says coach

Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand said Friday his team will not be silenced over the issue of human rights at the Qatar World Cup and hopes the tournament can spark reforms in football.

Qatar has faced criticism over its treatment of migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ community in the run-up to the tournament, which starts on Sunday.

Denmark has been a vocal critic of Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup due to its human rights record and the country’s government and royal family have said they will not attend.

Hjulmand shrugged off the shirt ban ahead of a training session, saying: “There are different ways of doing things”.

“Yeah, I could wear a T-shirt, but there’s also really hard work behind the scenes that you don’t see,” he said.

“We’re not being silenced. There is a lot of work going on from the Danish side, from the Danish team, from our sports director, from the board.

“There’s a lot of ways to try to change things and hopefully we won’t be put in this situation again.”

Hjulmand said he had “two dreams” for what protest action could achieve.

“One dream is that in the governing bodies of football, and maybe sports altogether, we have more progressive, young, diverse people in the places where decisions are being made,” he said.

“The second part is that we in the world have more empathy and listen and try to understand other people.”

Denmark defender Rasmus Kristensen said the players supported the football association’s approach.

The Leeds United player said it was “a shame” that they were not allowed to wear the training jerseys with a message supporting human rights.

“It’s apparently FIFA rules,” he said, adding “we will see”, when asked if the players were planning any other protests.

“You can disagree and I think we do.”

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