The French capital has joined several cities in saying it won’t show matches from the World Cup in Qatar on big screens at fan zones out of protest. Though, the deputy mayor says winter weather also plays a role.
https://www.dw.com-Thousands turned out in Paris during past World Cups, although admittedly that was in midsummer
The deputy mayor of Paris said there would be no fanzones with large TV screens in the city during the World Cup in Qatar.
This comes amid widespread criticism of the treatment of migrant laborers building stadiums and other facilities in the country ahead of the competition.
“For us, there was no question of setting up big screen areas for several reasons: the first is the conditions in which this World Cup has been organized, both in terms of the environmental and the social aspect,” Deputy Mayor Pierre Rabadan told the AFP news agency.
“The second is the fact that it takes place in December,” he said.
Common trend in France
A string of French cities have made similar announcements of late. According to French newspaper Le Monde, Marseille, Bordeaux and Nacy are among the more recent to join the initiative, following on from Strasbourg, Lille and Reims.
Le Monde quoted Marseille’s city council as saying the tournament had turned into “a human and environmental catastrophe which is incompatible with the values that we want to see transmitted through sport and football in particular.”
Strasbourg’s mayor, Jeanne Barseghian, said it was “impossible for us to ignore the many warnings from nongovernmental organizations of abuse and exploitation of migrant workers.”
“When climate change is a palpable reality, with fires and droughts and other disaster, organizing a soccer tournament in the desert defies common sense and amounts to an ecological disaster,” Barseghian said.
Given the often searing temperatures in Qatar, the competition is also the first World Cup to take place during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, when weather conditions for communal outdoor viewing might be far from ideal in Europe in any case.
The Paris-Qatar connection
The decision could be particularly awkward, given that the Paris Saint-Germain football club is owned by Qatar Sports Investments, a subsidiary of the state-run sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, the Qatar Investment Authority.
“We have very constructive relations with the club and its entourage, yet it doesn’t prevent us from saying when we disagree,” Rabadan said on radio station France Bleu Paris.
Rabadan also alluded to “the conditions in which these facilities have been built” in Qatar, a reference to the treatment of migrant workers in the country working either on stadiums or other infrastructure projects related to the competition.
The World Cup will also witness other acts of protest or criticism of policies in the semiconstitutional monarchy.
Denmark recently unveiled muted jerseys for the upcoming competition, designed to be a critical gesture. And several European football federations and players have expressed an intention to show support for initiatives on other issues such as LGBTQ rights.
msh/rt (AFP, AP, dpa)