Qatar 2022, never again! | Humanity
This 22e edition of the Football World Cup which will open with the Qatar-Ecuador match on November 20 will go down in history. This football high mass, which billions of enthusiasts await all over the planet, should be a popular celebration that brings people together; it is unfortunately marred by numerous scandals which will leave traces, including blood. Traces that should lead us to say: “Qatar 2022, never again! »
From the conditions of attribution which ooze the active corruption of States and authorities of the football planet, through the constraints imposed on spectators, this World Cup is in the image of this world, plagued by capitalism and money king . The disaster is multiple and the evidence is overwhelming and now public; no one will be able to say that he did not know.
Social disaster, first of all, because the pharaonic construction site of the construction of seven stadiums and the renovation of the eighth – without counting the infrastructures -, in an emirate as large as a French department, required a feat which was achieved on the backs of foreign workers, very often Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Pakistani or even Sri Lankan. Without labor rights, poorly paid and overexploited, many have been deprived of their wages in recent months, and even expelled before the competition begins. But the worst is the thousands of injured and the 6,500 dead revealed by our British colleagues from “The Guardian”: the competition will be played on open-air cemeteries, which add to this sad picture. It should also be remembered that in France, while few voices were raised on the situation of workers in Qatar, the CGT construction was among the first to alert with its campaign « Red card for Fifa ».
Political disaster, then, because Fifa deliberately entrusted the management of this event to the emirate, which had the worst candidacy file and which used methods of lobbying and financial bargaining to buy votes. Since 2016, justice has been pulling the threads of the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar to find out whether France has monetized its support in exchange for consideration, including the sale of Rafale. What is certain is that France facilitated Qatari soft power in the West, by allowing the takeover of PSG by the Qatar Investment Authority, in 2011, under the era of Nicolas Sarkozy. France, which has also decided to send 200 gendarmes and police officers to « help » Qatar in the organization of the event.
An environmental disaster, too, because the air-conditioned stadiums in a desert country and the airlift to transport the supporters who will stay in Dubai (nearly 160 daily flights) are all aberrations against the climatic problems of our time.
Ethical disaster, finally. The basic and fundamental rights of its citizens, especially women, minorities, including homosexuals, are violated daily in this authoritarian monarchy of the Middle East. The country’s law, based on Sharia, is in stark contrast to the proclaimed values of sports federations and sponsors who claim to be champions of inclusion.
In this context, how to cover this competition for a committed newspaper like ours? We owe you transparency. We had the debate within our editorial staff on the approach to adopt, which goes far beyond the boycott and therefore questions the discrepancy between the values supposedly associated with sport and the realities of these international sports tournaments. Cynicism cannot be the answer by telling oneself that it has always been so. Unfortunately, competitions have already been marred by scandals or political complicity with authoritarian powers. We know that our readers are, like us, attentive to respect for human rights, social and environmental justice.
So, boycott the competition? We are a newspaper. Our job, our vocation, is to inform you, to show reality, to participate in transforming it. To boycott would therefore amount to turning a blind eye to this disaster, therefore giving up telling you about it. Boycotting reality amounts de facto to renouncing to transform it, which is difficult to accept for the newspaper founded by Jean Jaurès.
We have therefore decided to continue to be useful to you and to inform you in order to move the debate forward. Like many of our counterparts, we revealed the various scandals mentioned above. We will continue because we do not wish to ignore an event of such magnitude. However, we have chosen an angle faithful to our principles. This is how a reporter from our editorial staff traveled to Nepal and had to track down the chain of unscrupulous agencies that will recruit very poor populations to work in the Middle East, and who make up this army of construction workers. in the middle of the desert. A special envoy will also travel to Qatar to show the sporting event and especially the side effects of a Qatari society marked by the contradictions and tensions that we denounce. Finally, the entire editorial team will be mobilized, including the sports section, to cover the event and share with you every day the portrait of a worker who died on the construction sites, to never forget. This original treatment will appear in “l’Humanité”, “l’Humanité magazine” and l’Humanité.fr.
Many of our fellow citizens see this event as a great sports festival. They will be happy to share convivial moments around a match, particularly the French team and its new « people’s golden ball », Karim Benzema. We know the excitement that these meetings bring, as the 1998 World Cup, Euro 2016 or the Women’s World Cup in 2019 remind us. « L’Humanité » also publishes a special issue devoted to football French, “A popular history of the Blues”. Let’s lead the debates with these football and sports enthusiasts, these thousands of volunteers in the clubs, groups of supporters who do not count their hours to promote this sport.
These hundreds of thousands of licensees, especially the youngest, are not necessarily aware of all the political ramifications at play behind this competition. We must speak to them without contempt and with clarity. Fans and players cannot pay for the inconsistency of the decision-makers, who must continue to be challenged. These sponsors and these institutions which worked for the appointment of the Gulf country must now be accountable, in particular to justice.
Sometimes the best comes out of these events. Athletes, professional or otherwise, can also contribute to conveying a message of hope and protest. The competition being above all their own, they are potential allies, provided that the mobilization increases. The captains of eight European selections, including France, thus undertake to express a message of solidarity and rejection of discrimination.
The battle for a popular sport is therefore not lost. It requires overhauling sports institutions by democratizing them to involve those who bring them to life on a daily basis, particularly in the awarding of competitions by setting ethical, social and environmental criteria.
As proposed by the former Minister of Sports, Marie-George Buffet, let us grow the idea of a world agency for the attribution of international competitions.
May this moment contribute to the awakening of consciences to bring the World Cup to reason, and so that « Qatar 2022 », symbol of a drift in sport business, never happens again. It is up to us to permanently change the rules of the game.