The KNVB is trying its best to see if it can include the Dutch national football team in the World Cup at this time which obviously seems too late and the team which they want to replace is none other than Saudi Arabia. The case they are trying to bring before FIFA is that Saudi Arabia treats women as second-class citizens and that it has a poor human rights record.
Reading from a prepared speech in a press conference at the KNVB Headquarters in Zeist, the Netherlands today, KNVB President Michael van Praag had this to say:
"The KNVB is of the view that based on their poor human rights record alone, Saudi Arabia should not be in the World Cup."
"Unlike Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands don't treat its women like second-class citizens. Women in the Netherlands can drive cars, they can take part in the government, they can make their own decisions, they can interact publicly with men and they can even take part in any sport of their choice. It took the Saudi Government a whopping 116 years before they finally sent their first female athlete to the Olympic Games and Saudi Arabia doesn't even have a national women's football team. The Netherlands on the other hand have female athletes who compete in all sports and their senior women's national football team are the reigning European Champions. How many Saudi women's teams have competed in any major FIFA or AFC tournaments? Would zero be an accurate guestimate? In fact, Saudi women are not even allowed into stadiums to watch live sports events. "
Mr. van Praag went on:
"Also, how have the Saudis reshaped the game of football? The Dutch introduced Total Football to the world in the 1970's and our national team has finished runner up at an astonishing three World Cups - 1974, 1978 and 2010. We have also produced legendary players like Johan Cruyff, Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten. Apart from Saeed Owairan who had his fifteen seconds of fame against an unlucky Belgian team one summer day in America in 1994, can anyone really name any Saudi players who have left an indelible mark on the football stage and who young up and coming footballers can try to emulate? By the way, wasn't Owairan later arrested in his own country after he was caught drinking with a Western woman? Do you think that the Dutch authorities would have arrested the late Johan Cruyff if he was found in a bar drinking with a Middle Eastern woman? Even if he was drunk in the bar he still would not have been arrested."
"In addition to which, the Netherlands is a country which accepts all people regardless of race, religion, political views and sexual orientation. We are known to be a free society. Saudis on the other hand don't enjoy the same freedoms as Dutch people and it is a well-known fact that Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in the world. Which other country in the world still legally executes people for homosexuality, adultery and atheism? Which other country in the world legally and publicly flogs someone for drinking alcohol? The people of the Netherlands don't have to worry about this. The Saudis even forbid Israelis from visiting their country. This sounds like anti-Semitism to me. And worst of all only one religion is allowed to be practiced. And this is the type of country that FIFA is allowing to participate in the World Cup?"
"Please Mr. Infantino, listen to the plight of the Dutch people and debar the Saudi national football team from participating in this year's World Cup and have them replaced with the national football team of the Netherlands - a country that is free, democratic and which treats all people including women and gays with love and respect. This is totally opposite from Saudi Arabia which is notorious for oppressing its people and has absolutely no right taking part in a sporting competition that was developed by Westerners for everyone to participate in regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia is yet to understand this and unlike the Saudis the Dutch don't feel perpetually threatened by gays or women."