According to a “Sportschau” report, the organizing committee for the football World Cup in Qatar (November 20 to December 18) is paying selected fans to travel to the tournament so that they can spread a good mood there and on social networks. Flights, accommodation and pocket money are therefore included for participants in the “Fan Leader Network”.
“The fact that Qatar is still buying fans just before the tournament starts also indicates that enthusiasm among active national team fan groups in many countries is rather low,” said Martin Endemann from the European fan association Football Supporters Europe (FSE). “These people shouldn’t be seen as representative fan representatives, but at most as volunteers for FIFA and the Organizing Committee.”
The World Cup Organizing Committee (OK) did not answer questions about the details at the request of ARD. A spokesman said the fans would be doing “unpaid volunteer work,” the report said. Around 450 fans from 59 countries are involved. According to the “Sportschau”, the German Football Association said that the association was aware of the organizing committee’s program, but that it was not supported by the DFB or the national team fan club.
According to the report, a code of conduct contains clear guidelines for the participating fans. Among other things, the use of the slogan “Qatar – the fans’ world cup” and the hashtag #IAMAFAN (“I’m a fan”) are agreed. The WM-OK inform the fans that social media posts are being monitored. We reserve the right to request changes or deletion of posts. Fans “with an obvious political leaning” are not allowed in the program.
However, Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp thinks it is unfair to expect national players to protest against the World Cup in Qatar. “The decision was made by other people and if you want to criticize someone, then criticize the people who made the decision. Not the sport, not the competition and certainly not the players,” stressed the German.
The decision for Qatar was made more than ten years ago. Today’s players were ten years old. According to Klopp, it is not for this generation to say: “We’re not going” or “We’re not doing it”.
Qatar is regularly criticized for human rights violations, the main concern being the situation of foreign workers. The government of the emirate is closed to criticism and refers to reforms.