Boycott the World Cup in Qatar? Among the French personalities, it was the actor Vincent Lindon who shot first. “I will not watch the World Cup”, he announced on August 29, in the program “C à vous” on France 5. “We are in a giant asylum: the same year, there are Winter Olympics in a country where there is no snow and a World Cup in a country where it is 60°C in the shade and where they have built a dozen refrigerated stadiums… That is, not only a climatic and ecological aberration, but there is also a lack of respect for human rights,” he argued.
On Tuesday, Éric Cantona posted a statement on his social networks explaining that he would not watch a single World Cup match. The former France and Manchester United striker urged football players not to take part in an event he called an “aberration”.
2 The world of soccer
In early August, the former Bayern Munich player Philipp Lahm announced that he will not travel to Qatar for the World Cup, invoking the non-respect of the human rights of the host country. However, this is not a complete boycott on his part. “I prefer to follow the tournament from home,” he explained. President of the organizing committee of Euro 2024 in Germany, he also specified that he would have made the trip if it had been necessary within the framework of his functions.
In February 2021, it was the Norwegian club Tromso which officially requested a boycott of the 2022 World Cup from its federation. She rejected this idea. (368 delegates had voted against the boycott, 121 were in favour). It must be said that Fifa had threatened to exclude Norway from qualifying for the 2026 World Cup if it had decided to boycott Qatar (Norway ultimately did not qualify for the competition).
We also remember that in April, the Red Kop of En Avant Guingamp had briefly deployed a banner hostile to the World Cup in Qatar, under the eyes of the president of Fifa Gianni Infantino, present that day at Roudourou at the invitation of Noël Le Graët.
Amnesty International has launched a petition “Qatar 2022, bringing the Cup to its senses”, signed by more than 50,000 people. However, the NGO does not call for a boycott, but to take advantage of the opportunity to put pressure on Qatar. Other organizations, such as Youth for Climate France, are calling for the cancellation of the event. Strasbourg activists, grouped in a collective called Maquis Alsace-Lorraine, have even embarked on a crazy project: to personally encourage the players to boycott the event, by contacting them via their Twitter accounts. They believe that “if a few influential footballers take a stand, a massive movement can quickly appear”.
A small French collective does not want to remain indifferent to the thousands of deaths recorded since the awarding of the competition to Qatar. They intend to cancel the next World Cup and here is their plan. https://t.co/MYtm691gQm
— SO FOOT (@sofoot) November 19, 2021
4 The media
The “Quotidien de la Réunion” said on Tuesday that it did not intend to cover the event “even if France is champion”. It is for the moment the only media to have announced such a decision. “Our newspaper will boycott everything related to this sporting event, but will relay information related to the ecological and human issues raised by the competition,” said its director, Vincent Vibert.
? “Can we celebrate victories knowing that thousands of people died in these stadiums?”
?? “Le Quotidien de la Réunion” boycotts the World Cup in Qatar pic.twitter.com/JkibhOBLxH
— BFMTV (@BFMTV) September 15, 2022
Jean Lassalle, former presidential candidate, launched on Wednesday “an official appeal so that we charge, for example, Germany or England to organize the next World Cup in dignity ”. But it is on the side of rebellious France that we find the most virulent positions taken. From 2021, Jean-Luc Mélenchon had estimated that the players of the France team had “nothing to give a damn” in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, because “we can’t play football on corpses”. A message declined at the beginning of September by the rebellious deputy Alexis Corbière, who considered that “the conditions are not met for our French team to go to this event”, which is, according to him, a “sporting, ecological and social scandal “.
Promoting a circus like the one planned in Qatar is cynical
A boycott movement is also beginning to take shape in bars. La Maison du Peuple, one of the largest cafés in Brussels, will not show any matches. “We sit on a big recipe, but we could not have looked in the mirror. Promoting a circus like the one planned in Qatar is cynical. We don’t want to leave that world to our kids.” entrusted his boss to our colleagues from “La Libre Belgique”.
In Germany, several Bonn pubs, the former capital of the country, took the same decision. Brittany is no exception to the phenomenon, a bar in Redon having informed our colleagues from Ouest France of its refusal to broadcast the matches of the 2022 World Cup.