Finland’s forward player Riku Riski refused to play an international friendly game against Sweden in Qatar. The Finnish player refused to travel to Qatar for a match for an ethical reason. He stated that his refusal to play a match in Qatar is because of the World Cup hosts’ record on human rights.
Riku who plays for HJK Helsinki and who has also won 26 caps for his nation was called for a match with Sweden and Estonia as a part of winter training camp in the Gulf State. However, he refused the chance to revive his international career as he wanted to act on some values. He stated that he conveyed his decision to the head coach and general manager of his team. Even though they had a different point of view over his decision; yet, he didn’t drift from his point.
Qatar is going to host the 2022 World Cup and the tournament remains highly debatable. The ways the migrant workers are treated has been widely condemned. The migrant workers have been given the task to construct new stadiums for the World Cup. However, as per reports from Amnesty International in September 2018, it was stated that workers were still going through exploitation and severe violation of human rights. Hence, Riku took the decision of not playing a match in a country which showcases very poor records on human rights. He added that it’s a matter of shame for a country that is going to host the World Cup 2022.
Kanerva stated that he respects the decision of Riku, but advised that failing to be a part of the winter training camp could impact his chance of being a part of Finland’s squad for the opening Euro 2020
qualifiers that is going to be played against Italy and Armenia. He added that neither he nor the manager of the team has taken a stand against Riku’s decision.