2022 World Cup: players’ timid initiatives in support of human rights

The day after the start of the controversial FIFA World Cup in Qatar, several European teams announced on Monday, November 21, that they were giving up wearing a “One Love” armband adorned with a multicolored heart. A sign that was intended to support LGBT + people and other minorities whose rights are not recognized in the emirate.

The initiative proposed by the Dutch federation at the beginning of September will therefore not be followed. A setback that comes after Fifa forbade them, Sunday, November 19, preferring to the multicolored armband slogans like “Football unites the world », “save the planet” or “protect the children”.

A ” Good choice “ according to Noël Le Graët, president of the French Football Federation (FFF), whose players had initially planned to wear the armband before backtracking. Hugo Lloris, the tricolor captain, again assured Monday that he would follow the recommendation of the international federation, preferring ” stay “ in his ” frame “, “that of player and competitor”.

Yellow card

Several team captains, including that of England which begins its competition against Iran on Monday, Harry Kane, or the Dutchman Virgil van Dijk, had however reaffirmed Monday morning their desire to display this symbol of inclusion and of diversity. The captain of the German team, Manuel Neuer, had even assured to be “willing to pay fines”, financial sanctions having been brandished by Fifa.

This was without counting the announcement of sporting sanctions. Captains who wear the armband would be penalized with a yellow card, threatened the institution that governs world football. A measure that decided the seven refractory to give up.

“As national federations, we cannot ask our players to risk sporting sanctions, including yellow cardswrote the federations of the seven countries in a joint press release published on Monday. We were ready to pay fines (…) but we cannot put our players in the situation where they could be warned, or even have to leave the field. »

FIFA assured that its official armbands would be flocked with the message “No to discrimination”its president Gianni Infantino assuring that ” Everyone is welcome “ in the country.

Jerseys sold at auction

Other teams have carried out their own “initiatives” to support minorities or immigrant workers, on the margins. The German team, for example, made the trip to Qatar with a plane bearing the slogan “Diversity wins”. On the American side, the Football Federation has replaced the colors of its logo with those of the rainbow, in support of LGBT + people whose rights are violated in Qatar.

In the Netherlands, the jerseys of players worn during the World Cup will be auctioned off and the proceeds will be used to help the families of migrant workers who died on stadium construction sites. As for Denmark, the leaders have given up sending an official representation of the government or the royal family to Qatar. The Danish players wanted to go further, wearing a flocked jersey with the inscription “human rights for all” but Fifa rejected their request.

Failing to defend the “One Love” armband, the Blues have committed themselves to “support NGOs that work for the protection of human rights”. They will feed, for an unspecified amount, the Génération 2018 endowment fund created by the world champions in order to finance social actions.



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”.