VSt is obviously not the first time that football has posed a problem of conscience for its fans. But, this time, it will be more difficult for them not to have it bad (their conscience), if they decide to follow the Football World Cup in Qatar, from November 20 to December 18.
Nothing goes without saying for this 22e edition of the competition, whose singularity is less due to its holding in autumn – for the first time in history, in order to escape the extreme summer temperatures of the emirate – than to the feeling of absurdity which emanates from it.
The loss of meaning results first of all from the staggering choice of the host country, a very wealthy micro-state but without a footballing tradition, a decision which triggered a litany of international legal proceedings for corruption. Twelve years later, the World Cup will take place in Doha and its suburbs, but it is no longer certain that it will constitute a victory for the emirate.
The Boycott Totem
There is this staggering human toll, the unit of which is the thousand dead, on the construction sites of the country, and the ecological aberration of these eight air-conditioned stadiums with 40,000 to 80,000 seats – seven new ones – squeezed into an agglomeration of 800,000 inhabitants, whose stands were not filled during the World Athletics Championships in 2019.
So, two months before the start of the competition, a totemic word resurfaces, a watchword: the boycott, and the calls that come with it, from former footballers like Philipp Lahm or Eric Cantona, from personalities or anonymous. But what boycott?
None of the thirty-two qualified federations have seriously considered not sending their national team. With its hints of the Cold War, an institutional boycott is simply out of date and, for lack of having been thought of years earlier, it has become completely chimerical.
Despite their growing politicization, it is useless to dream of selected footballers taking it upon themselves to stay at home. The abstention of the specialized media is not more probable, the stake being rather the exposure which they will grant to the polemical subjects.
The « diplomatic boycott », experienced for the Winter Olympics in Beijing, may take a little place in the news, but one can imagine that its effects will be as negligible as the absence of a sub-prefect at the inauguration of a media library.
The vast majority of environmental and human rights NGOs do not even advocate the empty seat policy, preferring to take advantage of the event to convey their messages.
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