Should we boycott the World Cup as a family?

Didier Deschamps announced the list of players who make up the French group for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The event will be held from November 21 to December 18 and the organization has announced that around 10,000 French spectators are expected on site to attend the soccer matches. On the occasion of the announcement of his list, the coach was invited to speak about the organization of the event, which raised many controversies. “Participating does not mean endorsing,” said the tricolor coach. “We are hosts in an organizing country, and this decision was taken more than ten years ago. (…) We will continue, at our level, to be attentive to what is happening there. a sporting sphere, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t see and hear what can happen there,” he said.

With regard to particular actions to show their disagreement on certain points (as the Danish team did by wearing black jerseys obscuring the official sponsors), the French team world champion in title does not count for its part to take collective initiative: “Everyone is free, and I will never forbid any of my players, if they have personal convictions, to express what they want to say (…) Free to everyone, but [les joueurs, ndlr] are actors and we are participants,” said Didier Deschamps.

What is blamed on Qatar for the 2022 World Cup?

In order to organize the World Cup in Qatar, to begin with, the competition could not take place in the summer as usual because of the strong heat in the host country and has thus been postponed to the months of November and December, which are less hot, thus upsetting all the calendars of the national championships. If it were only that, Qatar’s detractors would be fewer. But the issues are broader. From a climatic point of view to begin with: this The World Cup will emit 3.6 million tons of CO2, a figure underestimated by at least 5 times according to many associations. For example, dhe open-air stadiums will be air-conditioned in order to be able to host matches despite the temperatures. In addition, all the matches will take place in a single city, namely Doha, the capital, but it is impossible to accommodate all the visitors there. Thus, 168 daily flights are planned for the supporters of the Gulf countries.

But it is above all from a human rights point of view that the event poses serious ethical problems: according to the revelations of the British daily The Guardian, 6,500 migrant workers are said to have died in Qatar since the emirate was named in 2010 as a host country. Among these deaths, there are workers who worked in the furnace of the Qatari climate on the 8 stadiums, highways, hotels and metro specially built for the competition. Furthermore, LGBTQ+ rights are not recognized in Qatar. Thereby, Qatar asks homosexuals to show “discretion”.

The call for a boycott of the World Cup

Several personalities, including some from the world of football, are calling for a boycott of the event. This is the case of the former star of the France team and Manchester United, Eric Cantona : “I will not watch a single match of this World Cup. Already, because Qatar is not a football country. No fervor, no flavor. An ecological aberration, with all these air-conditioned stadiums … what madness , what stupidity”, he wrote on a Facebook message, before adding: “But it is above all a human horror. How many thousands of deaths, to build these stadiums, to ultimately amuse the gallery for two months … and no one cares. The very caricature of what man is capable of carrying in him as extreme filth. Ever since I was a kid, it’s an event that I adore, that I’ve been waiting for and which I watch with passion… Instead, I will rewatch all the episodes of Columbo, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen them.” Philipp Lahm, world champion in 2014 with the German team went in the same direction in an interview: “Human rights should play a greater role in the awarding of a tournament”.

For its part, Amnesty International does not call for a boycott, which it knows is impossible, and favors other modes of action. In its letter addressed to the players of the France team (“Bring the Cup home”), the international organization seeks the political, civic and environmental awareness of the world champions: “Get involved by clearly expressing your solidarity, by your public speech, in a message on your social networks or by signing our petition.

Will families watch the World Cup?

According to an Odoxa poll for RTL, the French were 39%, in April, to wish that the Blues give up going to Doha. Several town halls have announced, one after the other, to give up installing giant screens to broadcast the matches of this fall World Cup. The boycott has become a real subject of questioning for all football fans. Watching the first match of the Blues, namely France-Australia, is it condoning and turning a blind eye to all these problematic subjects mentioned above? And the children in all this? Will families follow the competition on television?

For Nadège, mother of a little boy, it’s seen all: “out of the question to endorse this demonstration of unconsciousness and irresponsibility. These are not the values ​​I want to pass on to my children and I would have the impression of betraying myself by letting them watch”. Lucie is more nuanced: “Obviously I do not tolerate that the environmental and human issues were completely flouted during the organization but my two children are fans football and I find it hard to tell myself that I am going to deprive them of living their passion. I don’t think we’ll follow the matches, but if France are in the final… no doubt we’ll watch with them, explaining to them the issues related to the event.” For Thibault, it’s unthinkable to miss this: “It is not up to us to pay for the political and financial arrangements. If anyone should be punished, it’s the organizing committee, it’s Qatar, but never the football fans. I still remember the victory of France in 98, a moment of sharing with my father, and for nothing in the world would I want to miss living that with my children.

Should we boycott the World Cup as a family?