World Cup 2022: no boycott for the debut of the Blues, followed by 12.5 million viewers

The French team made a successful debut at the 2022 World Cup: more than 12.5 million viewers followed Tuesday from 8 p.m. on TF1 its big victory against Australia (4-1), according to figures from Médiamétrie published Wednesday, November 23.

While the World Cup in Qatar had been the subject of boycott calls before its start, this match achieved the “best audience since June 2021 for all programs and all channels combined”, welcomed TF1.

This number of viewers is comparable to that of the first match of the Blues at the 2018 World Cup, again against Australia (12.6 million), which took place on a Saturday noon.

Over 5 million viewers for the opening game

At the time, however, viewers of the entry into the running of the Blues represented a larger share of all those watching television at that time (69% audience share, against 48.1% for Tuesday’s game).

TF1 is the only channel in France to broadcast the World Cup unencrypted, also broadcast on beIN Sports for a fee. Sunday, November 20, the opening match between the host country – Qatar – and Ecuador, broadcast at 5 p.m., had attracted more than 5 million viewers.

These audience scores seem to show that the calls for a boycott of which the competition was the object did not have a notable impact. Since the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar in December 2010, the competition has sparked many controversies on subjects such as respect for human rights and the protection of the environment.



World Cup 2022: a boycott, really?

More than 12 million viewers watched the French team’s first match against Australia on Tuesday 22 November. Either the best audience of the year for TF1. Enough to give food for thought to the anti-boycott of the World Cup in Qatar, so criticized in terms of human rights and for its ecological nonsense.

However, the figures must be analysed. In 2018, in Russia, the first match of the Blues, again against the Australian Socceroos, had gathered 12.59 million viewers. An equivalent score in number of viewers but much more powerful in market share (69% in 2018, against 48.1% in 2022), the most convincing element of comparison given the different boxes of the two programs and the different broadcast period.

Analyze over the long term

“You have to be careful when comparing slots that are not the same”, recalls in this regard Nicolas Hourcade, sociologist specializing in supporterism. “The 2022 figures are certainly inflated because new comparators come into play, such as people watching matches in bars”, explains the specialist. The measurement of audiences away from home (secondary residence, hotels, bars, airports, train, bus, etc.) was implemented by Médiamétrie in 2020, so the comparison with previous World Cups is biased.

“People can be disgusted by the conditions in which the competition is taking place and will not follow it continuously, but reserve the important matches for themselves. » Thus, according to Nicolas Hourcade, it will be interesting to analyze the figures for the final round, with the knockout matches, to see if a quarter or a semi-final where the Blues do not play corresponds to usual audiences or not.



“If Qatar is unbeatable, it’s not just the World Cup that we have to boycott”

On November 20, the World Cup will open in Qatar. And already the controversy is launched: should we boycott it or not? What is being talked about is not the sports boycott, that is to say the fact that a qualified team does not go there, but rather the boycott by spectators or television viewers.

The argument of the host country which has no sporting tradition, used today against Qatar, has often been used in the past: this was the case against the United States in 1994 or Japan and South Korea in 2002. The choice of South Africa for the organization of the 2010 World Cup was accepted: it was time for an African country to host the competition.

Air-conditioned stadiums

Fifa wants to expand its empire. Awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar allows for the first time an Arab and Muslim country to organize the competition. Everyone now knows Qatar and, in this, the organization of the World Cup is a real success for Doha. But this visibility has also drawn attention to the less glamorous aspects of the country. The criticisms focus mainly on two issues, the climate issue and the situation of immigrant workers.

The stadiums are air-conditioned. In addition, many air travel will be necessary, some spectators being accommodated in neighboring countries. Such a situation is obviously open to criticism in view of the climatic situation, and the next competition to be co-organized by Mexico, the United States and Canada will be even more problematic. Concern for the environment has recently appeared with regard to the organization of sports competitions. This was not the case in 2010 when the World Cup was awarded to Qatar.

The situation of foreign workers

The other controversy Qatar is facing concerns the situation of immigrant workers. Qatar did not imagine, when it obtained the organization of the World Cup, that this subject would come to the forefront of the news. Undeniably, Qatar was slow to react. He finally made decisions that are visibly struggling to be fully implemented. Nevertheless, the kafala – system of guardianship of foreign workers – has been abolished and a minimum wage has been introduced. If the situation is still not satisfactory, it is, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), better than in the other countries of the region.

On this subject, the World Cup has served as a lever, in particular for NGOs such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, which have focused media attention on the plight of immigrant workers and continue to put pressure on Qatar.

Thousands of deaths over 10 years

the Guardian published a resounding article in February 2021 claiming that 6,500 workers had died at construction sites in Qatar. This is 6,500 deaths over ten years, not just on World Cup construction sites, but on all construction sites in Qatar. Without being really documented, this figure was taken up by a number of international media. For its part, Qatar recognizes that there were 38 deaths. This figure seems to greatly underestimate the reality. The ILO mentions the figure of 50 deaths for the year 2020 alone, but does not have statistics for previous years.

If we must obviously protest against the fate of immigrants in Qatar, we must also protest against their fate in the other Gulf countries and elsewhere. And, in the Qatari case, why only call for a boycott of the World Cup since the deaths on construction sites are not only linked to the work of the World Cup, but also to the construction of other infrastructures in the country, involving foreign companies elsewhere.

Stop selling him Rafale

If Qatar is an infrequent country, then it is not only the World Cup that must be boycotted. We should also stop selling it Rafale, Airbus and suspend the construction of infrastructure by Western companies in this country or even stop buying gas from it… Why are the calls for a boycott limited only to sport? The latter is systematically used as an adjustment variable for moral protests.

Everyone is free to watch World Cup matches or not. But it seems perfectly hypocritical to focus attacks only on the World Cup and keep quiet about the rest. Qatar is far from being a perfect country. It has a lot of progress to make, particularly with regard to human rights and environmental protection. The World Cup must be the way to push for this improvement rather than stigmatize the country. Especially when it comes to finding new gas supplies, having an intermediary in discussions between the various Chadian factions to negotiate a peace agreement or finding support in the evacuation of Western nationals from Kabul , Qatar appears to be a reliable partner.



2022 World Cup in Qatar: timid calls for a boycott

It is the first media to proclaim loud and clear its intention to boycott the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which opens in November. The Reunion Dailyone of the island’s two regional dailies, announced on Tuesday (September 13th) that it will boycott the international competition because of Qatari human rights violations.

” Without us “, title in the newspaper. “In the name of its values, The Daily boycott the 2022 World Cup.” For The Reunion Daily, “the intolerable attacks on dignity, human freedoms, minorities, the planet” justify the refusal to cover the event “even if France is champion”.

Calls from former players

Before the Reunionese journalists, several voices have emerged in France in recent weeks to call for a boycott of the 2022 edition of the World Cup. Former France team striker Éric Cantona also called on Wednesday to turn away from competition. “Let’s be honest with ourselves! This World Cup makes no sense! Worse, it is an aberration! », writes in an open letter the former Manchester United player, who points the finger at the “thousands of dead” and the madness of air-conditioned stadiums.

“Since I was a kid, it’s an event that I love,” he admits, while criticizing a “great masquerade” destined to “to make money for those who close their eyes” on the abuses committed in Qatar. According to a survey by the British daily The Guardianaround 6,500 workers are said to have lost their lives on the construction sites of the stadiums intended to host the matches.

In his letter, Éric Cantona cites as an example the former footballer and president of the organizing committee of Euro 2024 in Germany, Philipp Lahm. The latter had, in August, also shared his intention not to watch the matches of the competition. “Human rights must play a bigger role in awarding competitions,” pleaded the former world champion.

Timid appeals in the political class

In France, it is essentially from civil society that the boycott demands come from. On September 1, actor Vincent Lindon had said that he would not follow the World Cup. “We are in a giant asylum: the same year, there are Winter Games in a country where there is no snow (in Beijing, in February) and a World Cup in a country where it is 60°C in the shadehe denounced. It is not only a climatic aberration, an ecological aberration, but there is also a lack of respect for human rights. »

Within the political class, rare voices emerge in this direction, in particular on the left. The deputy Insoumis Alexis Corbière denounced on September 4 a “sporting, ecological and social scandal”. “The conditions are not met for our French team to go to this event”, he estimated. For his part, the Green MEP David Cormand was more measured. Refusing to attack the tricolor team, he denounced within Fifa and the French Football Federation “a bunch of people who let themselves be corrupted”.



Football: why is Kylian Mbappé boycotting the marketing operations of the Blues?

PSG star Kylian Mbappé refused on Tuesday March 22 to participate in a communication operation with the partners of the French Football Federation (FFF). The 23-year-old striker skipped a scheduled meeting in Clairefontaine (Yvelines) with several sponsors of the French team including Volkswagen, Uber Eats, Orange, Xbox or Coca-Cola.

According to those around him, the football player disputes the terms of the agreement relating to the transfer of collective image rights. Signed by each player before his first selection, it provides for obligations vis-à-vis the partners of the FFF. In exchange, the player receives €25,000 per match played. If Mbappé signed it in 2017, it would never have been renegotiated since.

Three years of negotiations with the FFF

According to those close to the striker, the application of the convention has been the subject of a dialogue for three years with the FFF. The player claims not to be associated with brands that he refused to represent, judging their values ​​to be contrary to his own. The PSG Community website claims that Kylian Mbappé would notably refuse to see his image associated with online betting which “would represent a real danger for young people”.

→ ANALYSIS. PSG, one more or too many eliminations?

The player also intends that part of the revenue linked to these marketing actions be donated to amateur football, particularly in the suburbs and the countryside. Since his very first selection in March 2017, the striker has wanted to donate his bonuses to charities.

Donations of premiums to charities

In 2018, as he had promised, the Blues striker donated part of his World Cup winnings (€350,000) to the Premiers de Cordée association, of which he is the sponsor. In the columns of Time Magazine, he had explained the motivations of his gesture: “I earn enough money (…) So I think it’s important to help those who are in need (…) For people like us, giving a hand is not a big deal . It doesn’t change my life, but it does change theirs.

According to those around him, the player’s refusal to participate in the latest communication operations “is in no way a rebellion”. “This episode in no way calls into question the involvement of Kylian Mbappé, his attachment to the France team” explains his relatives who assure that this boycott has for “objective to reaffirm its expectations and move the lines”

“Kylian will be on the lawn in Marseille”

The president of the FFF, Noël Le Graët, tried to change the player’s mind, without success. “I’m not making it a state affair”tried to play down the leader on Wednesday with the daily The Team. “There is no showdown. Little worries are part of life. Kylian will be on the pitch in Marseille,” for the match scheduled for Friday 25 against against Côte d’Ivoire.

→ REREAD. Mbappé, Pogba, Dembélé… The market for free players is upsetting the football economy

According to Noël Le Graët, the lawyers of the FFF will send a letter to its representatives to negotiate. ” We want to improve things and make people happy, sponsors and players.he said, pushing aside any idea of “punishment” against the player. “I don’t like that word. But there will be a conversation” with Kylian Mbappe.



Beijing Olympics: no diplomatic boycott of France

French representatives will not turn their backs on the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Thursday, December 9, the Minister of Education and Sports, Jean-Michel Blanquer, indicated on RMC / BFMTV that France would not diplomatically boycott the competition, unlike the United States, Canada, Australia and the United States. UK. The latter denounce, among other things, the atrocities committed by China against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

→ READ. Beijing Olympics: the United States announces a diplomatic boycott of the competition

“France will not do it (…) but we will have messages that are politically clear ”, assured the minister. Jean-Michel Blanquer specified that he would not make the trip to Beijing in February but that the Minister for Sports, Roxana Maracineanu, and the Secretary of State for Disabled People, Sophie Cluzel, would go there.

“Sport is a world in itself which must be preserved as much as possible from political interference, otherwise it can go in any direction and we will end up killing all the competitions”, argued Jean-Michel Blanquer. “We must condemn the human rights violations in China, because there are some. It is necessary to know, when it comes to sports competitions, to have the appropriate and appropriate attitude ”, added the Minister of Sports.

Towards a European position?

A position markedly different from that of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian. “We are in favor of there being a common position of which we will measure all the issues at the next meeting of foreign ministers or the next, but this question must be dealt with as Europeans”, he said almost at the same time.

→ DEBATE. Should we boycott the Beijing Olympics?

Tuesday, December 7, the Elysee had indicated to have “Taken good note” of the announcement by Washington of a diplomatic boycott, and specified that France was “Coordinate” with the other countries of the European Union on this issue in order to decide whether or not to follow suit with the United States.

→ ANALYSIS. China: Xi Jinping directly implicated in the repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang

The United States, along with Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada have decided to send athletes to the Games but not officials, accusing China of trampling on human rights. Beijing has warned that countries that will not send official officials to “Will pay the price”.



Beijing Olympics: the United States announces a diplomatic boycott of the competition

The United States will send its athletes but no diplomatic representative to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the White House announced on Monday (December 6) despite Chinese warnings. By being present, “The American diplomatic representation would treat these Games as if nothing had happened, despite the gross human rights violations and China’s atrocities in Xinjiang. And we just can’t do that ”, justified the spokesperson for the White House, Jen Psaki.

For months, the US government had been looking for the best way to position itself with regard to the Winter Games, a popular and global event organized from February 4 to 20, 2022 by a country it accuses of perpetrating a “Genocide” against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. Several human rights organizations accuse Beijing of interning at least one million Muslims in Xinjiang in “Re-education camps”.

Chinese authorities systematically denounce “Interference” Westerners who condemn this situation, assuring that it is about “Vocational training centers” to support employment and combat religious extremism.

“A purely political decision”

With this boycott, no representative of the United States government will attend the Olympics or Paralympics, but American athletes will compete well. “The athletes of Team USA have our full support. We will be 100% behind them while we cheer them on from here ”, said Jen Psaki.

→ DEBATE. Should we boycott the Beijing Olympics?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is delighted that the boycott of Washington does not call into question the participation of American athletes. “The presence of government officials and diplomats is a purely political decision for each government, which the IOC, in its political neutrality, fully respects”, said a spokesperson for the Olympic body.

The US State Department said diplomatic staff would be present in Beijing “To assure our athletes, coaches, and those associated with the US Olympic team that they are safe”. Which represents “A different subject from official diplomatic representation”, according to spokesperson Ned Price.

“This has no impact on the success of # Beijing2022”

China had warned earlier on Monday that it would take “Firm countermeasures” if the United States called for such a boycott, calling it “Swagger”. On the night of Monday to Tuesday, Liu Pengyu, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the United States, said politicians calling for a boycott of the Games were doing so. “For their own interests and political postures”.

→ ANALYSIS. China – United States: Xi Jinping and Joe Biden remain more rivals than ever

“In fact, no one would care whether these people come or not, and it has no impact on the success of # Beijing2022”, he wrote on Twitter. “Frankly, the Chinese are relieved to hear the news, because the fewer American officials there are, the fewer viruses there will be”, tweeted the Chinese state tabloid Global Times.



Football: should we boycott the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?

The figure is terrible, revealed by a survey of Guardian February 23: 6,500 migrants have died in Qatar since 2010, most from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. A figure probably underestimated according to the British daily, because it lacks statistics from countries like the Philippines or Kenya, which have also sent large numbers of workers to Qatar.

→ READ. In Qatar, the hidden face of the 2022 World Cup

For ten years, more than 2 million foreigners have in fact come to swell the workforce necessary for the construction of stadiums and infrastructures for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They are working in very precarious conditions, in oppressive heat, often without even the certainty of being paid. The recent investigation by Guardian is not the first of its kind. The newspaper has regularly alerted on this subject since 2013 and the death of 44 Nepalese workers on the construction sites of the World Cup.

The Fifa and the FFF indifferent

At the time, the International Football Federation (Fifa) said “Concerned”. Today, less than two years from the event, which will be held from November 21 to December 18, 2022, the tone has changed. “The frequency of accidents at Fifa World Cup construction sites has been low compared to other major construction projects around the world,” cleared the proceedings.

→ ANALYSIS. Despite criticism, Qatar intends to continue its sporting road

The Qatari government, for its part, sees no anomaly in the death rate of its immigrant population and claims that only 20% of these expatriates are employed in the construction sector. It prevents. The debate on a possible boycott of the World Cup in Qatar has returned to the fore.

” Is right, considers Régis Juanico, Génération.s deputy for the Loire, who had already signed a forum in 2019 calling on the French team to boycott. We can no longer tolerate the attribution of major international competitions to these countries still lagging behind in respect of human rights. What governments, in the name of realpolitik and good economic relations, do not dare to do, we can ask sportsmen, who are very popular on social networks and who can shake things up. “

It is true that in recent months, some stars of the France team have not failed – and this is quite new – to position themselves on societal issues, such as Kylian Mbappé on racism or Antoine Griezmann in support of the Uyghurs persecuted in China.

Will they dare to express themselves on the World Cup, the flagship competition in which every footballer dreams of participating? On March 8, in an interview with AFP, the president of the French Football Federation (FFF) Noël Le Graët replied for them: “Qatar has long been designated by officials, we are not going to question the organization within a year. France will be present in Qatar if it qualifies. “

A State sensitive to its international image

To boycott, Amnesty International, which has been working on the subject since 2014, prefers “The pressure on different actors to change things, explains Sabine Gagnier, in charge of corporate and human rights advocacy within the NGO. Qatar is nonetheless very sensitive to its international image, and our numerous campaigns, among others, have enabled labor law to evolve in the country ”.

In two stages, in 2016 and then in August 2020, reforms made it possible to reduce the kafala, this system which prohibits migrant workers from changing jobs without the authorization of their employers. A new law also establishes a minimum wage of € 230 per month.

“These are real advances, but still too slow, admits Sabine Gagnier. And we must remain vigilant. Last February, an opinion from the Shura Council, the parliament of Qatar, recommended limiting the possibility of changing jobs to three times during the stay of workers. It would be a real step backwards. The pressure must not be released. “

In Qatar, the abolition of “kafala” does not sign the end of arbitrariness for foreign workers

Boycotting in order to really make an impression or take advantage of the sporting event to impose gradual changes is a recurring debate, widely present, for example, before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

For Raphaël Le Magoariec, researcher at the University of Tours and specialist in sports policies in the Gulf countries, the effectiveness of the pressure exerted on the occasion of international events exists. “Especially vis-à-vis countries like Qatar, all the same more fragile than behemoths like China. Without the angle of attack offered by the World Cup, the situation would certainly not have changed, and it must be seen that the progress recorded is initiating a dynamic which can also encourage neighboring countries to embark on similar reforms. In this way, movements internal to these societies can occur, which one can judge to be minimal or too slow, but which are nonetheless real ”.