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“A boycott is not possible” according to Carole Gomez, specialist in geopolitics of sport

Are these actions useful?

Carole Gomez : “I consider that they are relatively effective since it makes it possible to draw attention to the situation. There were surveys published a few years ago on the human rights situation and in particular the rights of employees on construction sites in the Qatar which had led to some progress during this period, but it was something that had tended to take a back seat in the light of the various news. There, following the publication of the Guardian investigation at the end of February and these initiatives, it is something that attracts attention which above all makes it possible to put direct or indirect pressure on the State of Qatar and therefore to improve the situation of these employees. “

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What could be the consequences of this movement on FIFA?

C.G : “FIFA has issued several press releases recalling the importance of respect for human rights so we can consider that the body will approach the organizing committee to try to move this subject forward. This has also been the case these recent years following the mobilization of the NGO Amnesty International which had made it possible to have a certain number of considerable advances which could be made within Qatari labor law even if we are still far from the mark.

This is also why Amnesty International continues to sound the alarm bells to show that there is not only some way to go but above all that there may also be risks of going backwards. FIFA also tries to spare the criticism by committing not to take any sanctions against these two teams (Norway and Germany), which breaks a little with its traditional position on the subject. “

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Exactly how do you explain that Fifa has not taken any sanctions when, as a general rule, political messages are prohibited within the framework of meetings?

C.G : “It’s a real change of doctrine on the part of FIFA. There had been a number of precedents where it had banned events as consensual as they were. I am thinking for example of Didier Drogba who had been sanctioned for expressing his respect for Nelson Mandela the day after his death.But in the meantime there was the Black Lives Matter movement where we really saw the international sports federations realize that the leaden layer that weighed on the athletes could not more hold and that we could no longer frame what was said by sportsmen and women ”

“sportsmen today have a considerable sounding board”

“This can also be explained by the increasingly important place of sportsmen and women in the governance of sport. There are more and more measures, reflections, reforms that are underway and tend to give more room for these athletes, which in the end is a fair thing since they are the main players in these sports.But yet their word was not sufficiently freed on the one hand, and on the other hand not heard and when it existed, it could be penalized.A final element to be taken into account is the considerable importance that social networks have taken on and the fact that athletes today have a sounding board which is considerable and this outside their federation, their official club… ”

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In line with the Black Lives Matter movement, a rare position taken by French athletes

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What could be the consequences for Qatar?

C.G : “It’s very complicated to figure out what it is going to be. It is sure that Qatar knew that the slightest of its side steps or its faults were going to be pinned down, shelled out. That is exactly what is happening. is happening. Qatar will have to be extremely vigilant in relation to these elements. There will be significant pressure from the players or the federations and even from the heads of state who will be able to travel during the this edition of the Men’s World Cup. “

“All these scandals should not tarnish Qatar’s image on a global scale”

“But we must not forget that this event is still very far, in a year and a half, and therefore Qatar will have to make significant progress so that it can really benefit from the positive aspects of a World Cup. , which is at the beginning the reason why he had applied. The goal is to get to be known on the international scene, to give a positive and dynamic image of this country, it would not be necessary that all these scandals and these rather embarrassing news tarnish Qatar’s image globally. “

In your opinion, can there be a snowball effect following actions already taken?

C.G : “Very clearly and this is something quite interesting since when Norway took a position it was a first step but we had to see what were going to be the consequences. The fact that there was this follow-up there shows that we are not at the end of our surprises and that there may be other countries. This is the object of the t-shirt that Norway wore during the match this weekend on which was writes “Norway ok, Germany ok, who will be next?” It will really be a matter to be followed very carefully in the coming weeks. “

Can we go as far as a boycott of the competition for certain nations as Norway had mentioned some time ago?

C.G : “This is somewhat the solution that is cited in particular by referring to a certain number of examples that have existed in the past: boycott of 1980, 1976, 1984 … But the situation is no longer the case. all the same (…) FIFA is much more powerful today than it was then. Recall for example in 2018 in Great Britain, Boris Johnson, Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, threatened to boycott the competition following the Skripal affair. FIFA had very quickly turned to him, saying that the country risked exclusion for four years from all competitions which had tended to bring Johnson back to a somewhat more neutral position.

“As such I think that the boycott will not take place, it is not possible. Because we must ask the question of the effectiveness of this boycott: is the idea to cancel the Cup completely? of the world? I think that this will not be the case, on the other hand it can help to draw attention to the situation which the various initiatives of the Norwegians, the Germans or the Dutch are already doing. “

Can these actions force the organizers (FIFA, Olympic Games, etc.) to review their criteria for designation in the future?

C.G : “Completely! This is really something that is now taken into account by a certain number of organizing committees since, with regard to the constructions, the sums spent, there is a real need to better take into account the issues and the objectives of the big players. sporting events that are going to be organized. It is a realization that has hit international sports organizations a bit hard. They know very well that if they do not update themselves, if they do not do this work there will no longer be a host city to host these competitions or the cities that will offer themselves will be in total contradiction with the values ​​that Olympism, that sport is supposed to convey. “

“It is a real taking into account, quite late I grant you, of the international sports federations which know that they no longer necessarily have the right to make mistakes at the risk of killing the goose with the golden egg on which they take care of. “

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2022 World Cup in Qatar: Norway, Germany, Netherlands, teams mobilize for human rights

2022 World Cup in Qatar: Norway, Germany, Netherlands, teams mobilize for human rights

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