French football fans in big cities will have to watch the World Cup at home, Source: Depositphotos

French cities will not show FIFA World Cup games, in protest

French cities will not show FIFA World Cup games, in protest

The boycott which spread through the municipalities is motivated by allegations of human rights and environmental abuses in Qatar

Paris was the latest city in France to announce that it will not set up public viewing areas and fan zones during the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar. With that, the French capital joins a slew of other cities in the country that have decided to boycott the social and community bonding side of the tournament, as a form of protest action against environmental and human rights abuses during the organization of the sports event in the Middle Eastern country.

[Our reasons are] firstly because of the environmental and social conditions regarding the event and this is not the model that we wish to promote for major events in Paris,” Pierre Rabadan, Paris’ deputy mayor of sport, said on Tuesday, as cited on CNN Sports. Mr Rabadan is also a key figure in the organization of the 2024 Olympic Games, which will be hosted by the French capital.

However, the city made it clear that it is not a boycott of the event itself, nor of the Qatari regime. In fact, French football fans have a strong interest in the upcoming World Cup since their team will be defending their championship title from the last World Cup in Russia.

How controversial is that decision?

Paris joins Strasbourg, Marseille, Lille, Rodez, Bordeaux, Nancy and Reims in committing to not organizing public viewings. That means, that football fans in major French cities will either have to watch the games at home or head to the nearest sports bar between 20 November and 18 December.

Since Qatar won the bid to host the World Cup in 2010, more than 6,500 migrant workers have died in the country, as The Guardian has previously reported.

Most of the workers, the report alleged, were involved in low-wage, dangerous labour, often done in extreme heat. The Qatar World Cup officials claim that only three work-related deaths have occurred during the preparation for the global sports event.

In the case of Paris, however, there is also another controversy given that the local football team Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) is owned by a Qatari company closely connected to the Qatari state and has a Qatari president – Nasser Al Khelaifi.



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