between divisions and diversions / Mondial 2022 / Boycott /

between divisions and diversions / Mondial 2022 / Boycott /

By announcing its intention not to cover the World Cup in Qatar, The Daily of Reunion relaunched the debate on how to take a concrete position on this subject. And since the term boycott is widely used to qualify very diverse attitudes, thus giving rise to all amalgams, we might as well clarify a little the meaning and scope of the term in the particular context of football.


Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani is finally out of the woods. He is not really worried about his World Cup, because he knows full well that everyone will line up on the lawn and in the official stands. But one of the challenges for the Emirate arises above all in terms of image, mainly in the West, in particular in order to now attract, as much as Dubai, the tourist or the influencer. But the disorder that has won over public opinion, at least on the Old Continent, or which questions the position of the media like lately The Daily of Reunion, threatens such a beautiful communication plan. In the columns of Pointa title which nevertheless never misses the opportunity to make its front page on the danger of Islam and Islamism, he was able to explain that “even today, some still do not accept that an Arab Muslim country hosts a World Cup” . A strong argument to discredit those who would be too critical and that we are often likely to hear in the next two months.

A matter of states

However, the boycott has never been a credible prospect and sometimes almost looks like a diversion to avoid tackling fundamental problems head-on on TV shows. First of all because it is, with regard to the major international sporting events which are one of the spaces for the expression of diplomacy, an affair of State and of States. The two most well-known and enlightening historical examples remain those of the Moscow Olympics in 1980 and then the Soviet boomerang in 1984 in Los Angeles (not forgetting in 1976 that of certain African countries in Montreal in 1976). However, for the moment, no one will miss the call among the qualified countries. Thus in France, the very mention of the boycott comes up against the glass ceiling of the “higher interests” of our trade balance. Noël Le Graët, president of the FFF, did not even hide it, for example with AFP by explaining that “Relations between our government and the Qatari government are very warm” . That said even Norway, finally not qualified, whose selection carried human rights t-shirt during his match in Gibraltar and whose the president of the federation courageously took the floor at the FIFA congress in Doha, had rejected the possibility of a boycott during an extraordinary congress, 368 delegates against, 121 for.

Lise Klaveness at the FIFA Congress.

So much for what concerns the ethics and responsibility of our institutions. On the side of the Blues, the story is even clearer. Didier Deschamps preferred to forfeit: “It was neither the players, nor me, nor you, who decided that the competition would be played there. There are decision makers who have decided. We are told that she is there, she is there. Afterwards, I may be factual, pragmatic, but that’s the reality. I do not want to hide the reality of the problems related to the condition of this World Cup. As a citizen, I want to send a message of peace. » Then hear policies such as Fabien Roussel for the PCFsurely eager to patch things up with the “benefits left” which reads The Diplo World, explain that asking players not to go is akin to moral forfeiture. Our elected officials and representatives, including those who were in business under François Hollande, had plenty of time and opportunity to act or challenge successive governments from the hemicycle. It was their function and their role in our democracy. At least NGOs, unions or associations have not failed to express themselves in the past.

The weight of an individual and civic approach

Ultimately, there remains a legitimate form of boycott, that of society, of citizens. It can be embodied in the voice or speech of personalities, Vincent Lindon at Eric Cantonawithout forgetting Virginie Despentes. It is reflected in opinion studies, to be taken with a grain of salt, including the latest from Amnesty International carried out by YouGov, which announces that 48% of French people will not follow the next Football World Cup on television. In fact, the only action that could antagonize the organizers from now on would effectively be to turn off the screens at the time of the meetings, because such a step would lead to devaluing the value of the TV rights so dearly sold and which represent a not insignificant part of the budget of the Fifa. And the latter counts the dollars, not the deaths on the construction sites…

By Nicolas Kssis-Martov


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