Go or not: calls to boycott the World Cup in Qatar increase

Go or not: calls to boycott the World Cup in Qatar increase

It is a decision that could well provoke some heated discussions in the editorial team of other French media: the meeting diary just made the drastic decision not cover the World Cup in Qatar at all from November 28 to December 18. “The daily sports department has set out to take a strong position in line with our values”, explains its director Vincent Vibert to our colleagues at franceinfo. “The decision was made in less than five minutes. We said to ourselves: we are totally boycotting the event. Even if France is world champion, we will not broadcast the sporting achievement.”

Certainly not the sports department of Canal+, Le Monde or Radio France, but the decision remains highly symbolic : journalists who refuse not only to make the trip, but also to cover a soccer World Cup, in a country where this sport is king.

In question, the ecological absurdity that this competition representsat a time when the issue is more urgent than ever (as a reminder, the matches take place in a country with a desert climate, in eight air-conditioned stadiums), but also immigrant workers who died in the construction works of the event.

The International Labor Organization estimates that 50 workers died in work accidents in Qatar in 2020, another 500 seriously injured. The ILO, however, denounces deficiencies in the system of investigation and registration of these deaths, which in reality are much more numerous.

According to another account, carried out by the newspaper The Guardian in 2021, it would actually be 6,500 if they had died since the beginning of the workseither in accidents at work, or more often “natural death” (“sudden cardiac arrest” or “respiratory” arrest) indirectly related to their work on the site. Qatar recognizes only 37 deaths related to these works, including 34 “outside their employment.” In 2021, President of Amnesty International France He already denounced a World Cup constituted “a little sport, a lot of money and massive human rights violations”

Footballers and artists tackle the World Cup

The decision of the Quotidien de la Réunion also comes in a very specific context, where new voices are beginning to emerge to denounce and call for a boycott of this World Cup awarded to Qatar in 2010. Last year, Norway hesitated (before you change your mind) withdraw their national team from the competition. His players had also worn shirts a few months earlier that said “Human rights inside and outside the field”.

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Early August 2022 is former world champion Philipp Lahm (winner in 2014 with the German national team) who to announce boycott the 2022 World Cup for clearly political reasons. “I’m not part of the delegation and I don’t want to go there as a fan. I prefer to follow the tournament from home. Human rights should play a bigger role in ‘tournament allocation’then explained.

A few weeks later, on the France Inter antenna, comedian Vincent Lindon announced that “I wouldn’t watch the World Cup”. “I think it’s a disgusting story. The idea of ​​accepting that you are for sale is impossible for me”explains the actor, who attacks the original FIFA decision in 2010. “We are going to do the World Cup in a country that, on paper, had zero chance of having it: neither the spectators, nor the infrastructure, nor the weather… And they won! That is, the number of arrangements.” , commitments or commitments that there should have been”.

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In social networks, where the hashtag #BoycottQatar2022 come back more and more often, a message attributed to the former French soccer star (and British) Eric Canton it also evokes a boycott. Message that includes in particular excerpts from an interview with the “King” last Januarywhere did you mention “a World Cup that is not one”. “Qatar is not the country of football.”decided then in the Daily Mail. “Il n’y a rien. Ce n’est qu’une question d’argent et la façon dont ils ont traité les gens qui ont construit les stades est horrible. Des milliers de personnes sont mortes. Et pourtant, nous allons fêter cette World Cup.”

The most timid politicians on the ground

The question is starting to come up regularly in interviews with politicians: should we go to Qatar or not? The answer varies depending on the camp, but always with some reservation. Questioned by the Public Senate this Monday, EELV MEP David Cormand thus he explains that he “will not look”, but without calling for a boycott. If it is not about attacking the national team, on the other hand, he also attacks FIFA and the FFF, “A lot of people who allow themselves to be corrupted. It’s a shame. The values ​​of sport, that’s not all. All this has nothing to do with football anymore.”

LFI MP Alexis Corbière consider that “The conditions are not right for our French team to go to this event. It is a sporting, ecological and social scandal.”

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“Soccer players are not political messengers, but through their image they radiate”, remember for your part The head of the PCF Fabien Roussel, who claims to be seduced by Éric Cantona’s message. “If I were a professional footballer, I would choose not to go.”

in France Inter, Former president François Hollande also wants to forgive the players in this matter. “You cannot put pressure on them, they are waiting for this World Cup, it is the most important thing they play in their lives. On the other hand, should the Heads of State and Government go to Qatar to watch the matches? In air-conditioned stadiums and after everything that’s happened? My answer would be no.”

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A call to political leaders that does not seem to be heard at the moment: last week**, the Minister for the Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher** estimated that “boycotting the World Cup will unfortunately not change the greenhouse gas emissions from this event,” ensuring that “this decision [d’organiser la Coupe du Monde au Qatar] was taken in another climatic context”. In 2010, therefore, where four IPCC reports had already been published, including the first in 1992.

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And the French players, in all this?

However, regularly questioned on the subject, the players of the French team are conspicuous by their silence on the subject, as if it had already been decided anyway: it seems unimaginable that the Blues do not play a World Cup. But the pressure could increase in the coming weeks. Last month, a simple tweet from the official account of the French team evoked the World Cup with the message “Proud to be Blue” against the backdrop of the desert had caused a wave of outraged reactions.

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