Several European cities such as London and Paris traditionally screen FIFA World Cup matches in public spaces or fan zones. This time, however, several cities are set to break this tradition due to the host country Qatar's alleged human right violations.
Apart from Paris, other French cities like Marseille, Lille, Bordeaux, Reims, Nancy, and Rodez have announced they will not install giant television screens as in the past to relay matches, The Guardian reported.
“This competition has gradually turned into a human and environmental disaster, incompatible with the values we want to see conveyed through sport and especially football,” Benoît Payan, the mayor of Marseille and head of a leftwing and environmentalist coalition, said in a statement.
Former French international and Manchester United footballer Eric Cantona is also boycotting the FIFA World Cup 2022.
“I will not watch a single match of this World Cup. This will cost me because since I was a kid it’s been an event that I love, that I look forward to and that I watch with passion. But let’s be honest with ourselves. This World Cup makes no sense. The only meaning of this event, as we all know, is money,” he wrote.
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London too has decided to boycott the World Cup by not hosting any “fan-zones” or public screenings of the matches.
“The mayor has been clear in his repeated condemnation of Qatar’s human rights record, but believes that fans in London should not be denied the opportunity to watch and support England and other teams in this year’s World Cup,” a spokesperson for the mayor said, Bloomberg reported, adding that private viewing parties would be allowed in the city.
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According to a 2021 report by The Guardian, 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka died in Qatar in the decade after the country was awarded the World Cup in 2010.
Of them, 37 deaths were directly linked to World Cup construction projects, but only three were designated as “work-related.”