Two weeks before the start of the World Cup in Qatar, protests from Bundesliga fans increased. The European associations don’t just want to talk about football either. Together they take a stand.
The protest against the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and its circumstances is visibly increasing in the German fan curves – and the associations also do not want to be dictated by FIFA to only talk about football.
The German Football Association published a statement that had previously been coordinated with nine other European associations. It said: “We will continue to support momentum for positive, progressive change and remain committed to a compelling outcome on the two crucial and open issues that we have been discussing with FIFA for a long time.”
FIFA calls for focus on sport
FIFA sent out a letter this week which, according to Sky News, said: “We know that football does not live in a vacuum and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature around the world . But please don’t allow football to be drawn into every ideological or political struggle there is.” Both the DFB and the world association had confirmed that such a letter existed.
In addition to Germany, associations from Belgium, Denmark, England, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Wales, Switzerland and the Netherlands were also involved in the response, which contained no clear criticism of FIFA and the much-discussed letter. Specifically, the two topics are about a compensation fund for guest workers and the concept of a guest worker center to be set up in Doha.
The associations welcomed Qatar’s progress with regard to the rights of guest workers and the promises made that all fans – including those from the LGBTIQ+ community – would be safe at the World Cup. They also agree with FIFA that diversity is a strength. “However, commitment and advocacy for diversity and tolerance also means supporting human rights. Human rights are universal and applicable everywhere,” it said.
Clear fan protests on the 13th matchday
That’s not enough for the fans in Germany. In their curves they openly call for a boycott of the world’s largest football tournament. “15,000 dead for 5,760 minutes of football! Shame on you,” read banners in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Saturday. The Dortmund fans also called for a boycott in huge black letters on a yellow banner that filled the entire stand.
The World Cup in the emirate has long been criticized for human rights violations and the treatment of workers from other countries. Fatal accidents have also occurred on construction sites in the past. The emirate’s government refers to its own reforms and rejects some of the criticism.
DFB President Bernd Neuendorf and Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD), who had only traveled to Qatar this week, questioned a television boycott. They wanted to leave it up to everyone to decide whether to watch games on television, both explained in a joint interview with “Welt am Sonntag”. “A television boycott does nothing at all,” said Faeser, and asked: “Isn’t the World Cup something many people want to enjoy in front of the television?” Faeser himself announced that he would travel to Qatar again for the first German World Cup game on November 23 (2:00 p.m.) against Japan.