Calls for a boycott of the World Cup in Qatar are increasing

It’s a decision that could spark some heated discussions with the editorial staff of other French media: the Daily Meeting just took the drastic decision to never covered the World Cup in Qatar from November 28 to December 18. “The daily sports department proposes to take a strong position in line with our values”, explained its director Vincent Vibert to our colleagues from franceinfo. “The decision was made in less than five minutes. We said to ourselves: we completely boycott the event. Even if France is the world champion, we will not pass on the success of the game.”

It’s not really the sports department of Canal +, Le Monde or Radio France, but the decision is still very symbolic : journalists who refused not only to make the trip, but also to cover a football World Cup, in a country where this sport is the king.

In the question, the ecological absurdity represented by this competitionat a time when the subject is more urgent than ever (as a reminder, the games will take place in a country with a desert climate, in eight air-conditioned stadiums), but also the immigrant workers who died in the construction sites of the event.

The International Labor Organization estimates that 50 workers died in workplace accidents in Qatar in 2020, another 500 were seriously injured. The ILO, however, reports deficiencies in the system of investigating and recording these deaths, which are actually more.

According to another count, made by the newspaper The Guardian in 2021, they are actually 6,500 who have died since the beginning of the worksin accidents at work, or generally “natural death” (“sudden cardiac arrest” or “respiratory” arrest) not directly related to their work on the site. Qatar has identified 37 deaths related to these acts, including 34 “not related to their work”. In 2021, the president of Amnesty International France A World Cup is already being built “little game, lots of money, and lots of human rights violations”

Players and artists face the World Cup

The decision of the Quotidien de la Réunion also comes in a specific context, where new voices began to rise to criticize and call for a boycott of this World Cup awarded to Qatar in 2010. Last year, Norway hesitated (before you change your mind) to withdraw his national team from the competition. His players also a few months ago wore t-shirts claiming “human rights on and off the pitch”.

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Early August 2022 that is former world champion Philipp Lahm (winner in 2014 with the German team) who will be announced boycott the 2022 World Cup for obvious 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 the ‘assignment of a tournament’he explained then.

A few weeks ago, in the antenna of France Inter, Comedian Vincent Lindon announced that he “not going to watch the World Cup”. “I think this is a disgusting story. The idea of ​​accepting that you have been sold is impossible for me”explains the actor, who attacked FIFA’s original decision in 2010. “We will do the World Cup in a country that, on paper, has no chance of having it: neither the spectators, nor the infrastructure, nor the climate… And they won! In other words the number of arrangements , compromises or compromises that must be had.”

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In social networks, where the hashtag #BoycottQatar2022 come back more and more regularly, a message dedicated to the former French football star (and British) Eric Cantona also sparked a boycott. Message that includes particulars excerpts from an interview with “The King” in Januarywhere he mentions “a World Cup that is not one”. “Qatar is not a football country”he then decided to the Daily Mail. “There is nothing. It’s all about money and the way they treat the people who build the stadiums is terrible. Thousands of people have died. And yet we will celebrate this World Cup.”

The shyest politicians on earth

The question began to come up frequently in interviews with politicians: should we go to Qatar or not? The answer varies according to the camp, but there is always a certain reservation. The Senate asked the public this Monday, EELV MEP David Cormand thus explaining that he “don’t look”, but without calling for a boycott. If there is no question of attacking the national team, on the other hand, he also attacked FIFA and the FFF, “A bunch of people who allowed themselves to be corrupted. It’s a shame. The values ​​of the sport, that’s not it. It’s all got nothing to do with football.”

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

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“Footballers are not political messengers, but through their image they shine”, reminds his side PCF chief Fabien Roussel, who says he was seduced by Éric Cantona’s message. “If I was a professional player, I would have chosen not to go.”

In France Inter, Former president François Hollande also wants to save the players in this event. “They cannot be put under pressure, they are waiting for this World Cup, this is the main stake in their lives. On the other hand, should the Heads of State and Government go to Qatar to see the games? air-conditioned stadiums and after everything that happened? My answer is 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 Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher** estimated that “Boycotting the World Cup will unfortunately not change the greenhouse gas emissions of this event”, make sure that “this decision [d’organiser la Coupe du Monde au Qatar] taken in another climatic context”. In 2010, therefore, four IPCC reports have been published, including the first in 1992.

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And the French players, in all this?

Despite being constantly challenged on the issue, the players of the French team shine their silence on the issue, as if it had already been decided: it seems unimaginable that the Blues will 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 sparked the World Cup with a message “Proud to be Blue” against the backdrop of the desert created a wave of angry reactions.

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