Many French fans are likely to follow this year’s World Cup in Qatar as their team, winners in Russia four years ago, fight to defend their title, but they will not be doing so with other football fans in some of France’s most important places. public spaces in cities.
Notably, Paris says it will not organize a fan zone for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, citing social and environmental issues.
“[Our reasons are] first of all because of the environmental and social conditions of the event, which is not the model we want to promote for major events in Paris,” said Pierre Rabadan, deputy sports mayor of Paris, on Tuesday.
However, the council made it clear that it is not boycotting the event itself, nor the Qatari regime.
“It does not mean that we are calling for a boycott of the event,” Rabadan added.
However, some have accused the city of hypocrisy given that Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) is a flagship sports team and is owned by a Qatari company closely linked to the Qatari state and has a Qatari president, Nasser Al Khelaifi.
“We know how many there are [heads of PSG] They have brought PSG to the club and therefore also to the city,” added Rabadan to his statement.
Last year, PSG cited a study by the Center for Sports Law and Economics, which found that the Ligue 1 club generated more than 182.2 million euros ($180.7 million) for the regional economy in the 2018-2019 season as well. Because it helps “maintain 2,150 full-time equivalent jobs.”
“These additional revenues for Île-de-France are largely explained by the club’s international appeal and influence,” said study author Christophe Lepetit.
“Paris Saint-Germain’s matches at the Parc des Princes have become unmissable events for many foreign visitors.”
Paris joins Strasbourg, Lille, Rodez, Bordeaux, Nancy and Reims in pledging not to host public audiences.
“I repeat that this is not the trial of Qatar, that we are questioning the pattern of this incident,” emphasized Rabadan.
Since Qatar won the bid to host the World Cup in 2010, more than 6,500 migrant workers have died in the country, The Guardian reported.
Most of the workers, according to the authors, were engaged in low-wage, dangerous work that was often done in extreme heat.
The Guardian’s report did not definitively link all 6,500 deaths to World Cup infrastructure projects, although one expert told the British newspaper that “many of the workers who died” were probably working on those projects.
CNN has not independently verified The Guardian’s figures.
Qatar World Cup officials estimate the death toll to be wildly different, telling CNN last year that there were three work-related deaths in stadiums and just 35 work-related deaths.
Hassan Al Thawadi – the man responsible for leading preparations for the event – told CNN’s Becky Anderson that The Guardian’s figure of 6,500 was “inherently misleading” and lacked context.