Paris will not broadcast World Cup matches on big screens in public fan zones due to concerns over rights violations of migrant workers and the environmental impact of the tournament in Qatar.
The moves to boycott the competition next month come after what has been described as a “last minute crisis of conscience” by the public authorities. Nonetheless, it follows similar moves by other French cities, despite France going in to the World Cup as the defending champion. Some other European teams or federations are also looking at ways to protest.Pierre Rabadan, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of sports, told reporters in the French capital that the decision against public broadcasting of matches is due to “the conditions of the organization of this World Cup, both on the environmental and social level.”
He said in an interview with France Blue Paris that “air-conditioned stadiums” and the “conditions in which these facilities have been built are to be questioned.”
Rabadan stressed that Paris is not boycotting the soccer tournament, but explained that Qatar’s “model of staging big events goes against what (Paris, the host of the 2024 Olympics) wants to organize.” The move comes despite the city’s football club, Paris Saint-Germain, being owned by Qatar Sports Investments.
In Lille, the city council unanimously voted not to broadcast World Cup matches. The city’s Socialist mayor, Martine Aubry, said holding the competition in Qatar was “a nonsense in terms of human rights, the environment and sport”.
Strasbourg also opted not to screen the World Cup. “It is impossible for us not to listen to the numerous alerts from NGOs denouncing the abuse and exploitation of immigrant workers. Thousands of foreign workers have died on the building sites, it’s unbearable,” the city’s ecologist mayor, Jeanne Barseghian, told 20 Minutes.
Image Credit: AP/File