Germany's players made an important statement by displaying support for migrant workers building 2022 World Cup stadiums in Qatar, coach Joachim Low has stressed, adding that the team stands for human rights, "no matter the location".

Germany lined up before kick-off in their opening Group J qualifier against Iceland at Duisburg wearing shirts displaying the message 'HUMAN RIGHTS'.

Norway staged a similar protest on Wednesday ahead of their match in Gibraltar when their players wore T-shirts with the message: "Human rights, on and off the pitch".

The initiatives come in the wake of a report by British newspaper The Guardian that said its calculations showed at least 6,500 migrant workers had died in Qatar since the country won the right to stage the 2022 World Cup 10 years ago.

Germany coach Low said he knew about his players' plan to protest but that he was not the "driving force" behind it.

"The players have drawn everything on their shirts. It was supposed to be the first statement by us, by the team," he said.

"We stand for human rights, no matter the location. Those are our values. Therefore, it was a very good and important statement."

The Netherlands team will also stage a protest ahead of their qualifier against Latvia in Amsterdam on Saturday, defender Matthijs de Ligt said.

However, the Juventus player would give no further details on the planned protest, he told a pre-match news conference.

Matthijs de Ligt speaking at Friday's press conference

It will come in front of 5,000 spectators who are being allowed into Saturday’s game at the Amsterdam Arena.

"I can give a scoop," De Ligt said, referring to the planned protest. "You will see what it is tomorrow."

But De Ligt added that the Netherlands players had made a decision to display their concern.

"We have talked about it for a long time, it is a sensitive subject but I think it is clear what our opinion is," added the centre-back.

"Everyone has read about the situation (with workers) in Qatar, of course, but we’ve started talking and discussing it since the heightened media reports. In the end, we all made the decision and everyone support it."

The Dutch first raised the topic on Tuesday when coach Frank de Boer made a statement ahead of a news conference before Wednesday's opening qualifier in Turkey, saying he and his team hoped to highlight the plight of migrant workers in Qatar and help to improve their conditions.

"Everyone knows that what is happening there is not good," De Boer said, adding that he rejected the idea of a boycott.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Qatari World Cup organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), said they had "always been transparent about the health and safety of workers".

"Since construction began in 2014, there have been three work-related fatalities and 35 non-work-related deaths," the spokesperson added.

"The SC has investigated each case, learning lessons to avoid any repeat in the future. The SC has disclosed each incident through public statements and or Annual Workers' Welfare Progress Reports."

Football's world governing body FIFA said after the Norway protest that no action would be taken against the players.

"FIFA believes in the freedom of speech, and in the power of football as a force for good," FIFA said. "No disciplinary proceedings in relation to this matter will be opened by FIFA." 

The Republic of Ireland play Qatar in a friendly in Debrecen this Tuesday.

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