Is a major boycott of “this masquerade” in Qatar really possible?

Fabien Bonnel will still give voice, this Thursday (8:45 pm) for France-Austria in the heart of Irresistibles Français, but he will start looking for “raclette and fondue companions” to occupy his guaranteed nights without a screen from November 20 . However, we are talking about one of the founders (and capo) of the main group of Blues supporters (1,600 members) for almost 20 years. After following the adventures of the tricolors in Germany (2006), Brazil (2014) and Russia (2018), it is one of the symbols of this #BoycottQatar2022 that has increased significantly in France in recent weeks.

“Obviously it’s too late to change anything in this competition, says this 38-year-old football enthusiast. But my action is mainly focused on FIFA, so that social issues, environment and man will think afterwards. My only solution to follow my convictions, and have a small role in the future of football, is to turn off my television for the entire World Cup, regardless of the progress of the Blues. »

Three of his colleagues in the Irrésistibles have even gone so far as to boycott all qualifying matches for the World Cup in Qatar since March 2021. However, after organizing an awareness meeting with Amnesty International, the a group of supporters voted in the general assembly against a collective boycott of the association. Each of its members is free to plan to stay in Qatar for the end of autumn. If more than 4,000 French are expected in Doha in two months, there will be almost a hundred Irresistibles, compared to 650 members for the Russian World Cup four years ago.

The Irrésistibles Français will be six times smaller in Qatar than at the previous World Cup in Russia. – FRANK FIFE / AFP

“Non-negotiable human and planetary issues”

As the French team plays one of the last two pre-World Cup games, this Thursday at the Stade de France, how much will this music, which comes from a major boycott, affect France? ? 20 minutes received 329 testimonies in two days, following its call for contributions on this issue on Tuesday. An important number for this type of calls. Among these messages, 90% of our readers, who almost all say they are football fans, say they don’t want to see the least image of the competition. And this is to “make their conscience clear in the face of this disguise”. “Since 2010, I am devastated that the organization of the World Cup is entrusted to Qatar, slips Agnès (67 years old). Human and planetary issues are not negotiable. »

Patrick (71) did not have his first major sports competition deliberately zapped: “For the same reasons, I boycotted the Beijing and Sochi Olympics on television. So I will do the same for Qatar in hope that the fall of television viewers will face the football authorities with their moral responsibility, which is too much. Stupidity, excess, money and the disrespect for fundamental freedoms plague this game no longer what I love. And that’s the only way I can understand it.” Also critical of the open-air air conditioning system in most of these new stadiums, which is particularly spotty amid global warming news, Léo (31) questions.

Could a few hours of fun justify the thousands of deaths and a terrible carbon footprint after the summer we just spent? This World Cup is a social, political and ecological aberration. FIFA has blood on its hands, I have no eyes. »

“Thousands of victims” in the areas where the stadiums were built

Roland (46 years old) launched a track to reconcile with such competition: “If all those who benefited from the financial fall created by this event pay all the victims and those who were not paid for their work , that is the beginning of a beginning of dignity”. This is the fight that has been waged for years by Amnesty International. The NGO asked FIFA “at least 440 million dollars for 2 million migrant workers” during the World Cup in Qatar. The recent mobilization of public opinion will help convince FIFA to act, while its income is estimated at 6 billion euros thanks to this tournament.

“The German and Dutch federations have publicly supported our approach,” explained Lola Schulmann, Amnesty International’s advocacy manager. We can change the legacy of this World Cup by allowing workers to get justice. More than 6,500 of them died in the construction sites of the World Cup stadiums, according to an article in Guardian in February 2021, while Amnesty International prefers to talk about “thousands of victims”.

The Lusail stadium will host the opening match and the final of the next World Cup.
The Lusail stadium will host the opening match and the final of the next World Cup. – Xinhua News Agency / New China / Kick

The risk of a “big deficit” for the bars?

The NGO, which did not call for a boycott, recently published two polls related to this World Cup. One showed that from a panel of 1,018 French adults questioned, 48% did not want to see any match in the tournament. The other is even more important, as it reveals that 66% of the 17,477 people questioned (in 15 countries) want the affiliated companies and sponsors of the World Cup to be publicly asked by FIFA to pay the migrant workers who were injured during the preparation of this competition. . Four major sponsors, Adidas, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Budweiser are also supporting workers’ reparations. Can the world of advertising at its level, in France, consider a boycott of this event? The media expects a World Cup “almost like any other” in this regard. “People will watch the matches and advertisers will be forced to be part of it”, assured one of the national newspapers, even though two of its partners cut 100% of their investments in media of the time.

With few exceptions, bars and restaurants that are used to broadcasting major football matches do not want to miss such an appointment. “There is no debate on the subject in our establishment, assures Laura, manager of the brasserie Le République in Lyon. I will be surprised if many colleagues will go to the end of this boycott process because it represents a great disadvantage. A shocking barometer of the rise of a major boycott can be found on the Boycott Qatar 2022 Facebook page. Behind this summer creation, “to raise awareness among friends”, is Alain Baduel, a lawyer of Aix-en-Provence and passionate about football and OM.

An upcoming “Colombo hype”?

All that is required is a sharing, on September 12, of a letter from Eric Cantona, in which 20 minutes authenticity still cannot be verified, only to grow its page from 250 followers to more than 5,000 in three days. So he will rebel against this World Cup: “Let France win, lose, nothing is square! In life, there are things more important than football. However, I will look again at all those stage of ColomboI haven’t seen them for a long time.” This supposed text from the former Manchester United legend therefore contributed to the new dimension of #BoycottQatar2022 on social networks. In addition to “Canto”, the actors Vincent Lindon, then Roschdy Zem on Tuesday, both took different positions on the topic during the show. It’s yours. A new proof that the controversy of this World Cup in Qatar is more than the structure of football.

“This shows the growing interest of people in that topic,” said Alain Baduel. A different discourse is expected than simply “It’s too late”. The institutions have failed the subject for 12 years, so it is good to see a truly citizen, apolitical and disinterested movement emerging. “And that is worth it for the lawyer who cannot make requests every day, as an elected official from Aix-en-Provence wants to really spread. Colombo in the bars of the city. What if Peter Falk replaced Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema in the hearts of the French within two months?

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