Ahead of the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, fan associations are intensively grappling with the highly controversial tournament. A representative has caused a stir with his appeal to Qatar’s ambassador.
Boycott the games on site and also in front of the TV and often kick the ball yourself during the tournament. Find out about the political situation in Qatar inform – and ideally protest against associations such as the DFB and FIFA. This is roughly how the organized fan scene imagines dealing with the upcoming World Cup.
While Chancellor Olaf Scholz is leaving for the World Cup host country at the weekend, in Frankfurt a fan action day under the motto “Not our World Cup!” on.
The organizers of the panel discussions on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. are the network of “Never Again!”, the fan alliance “Unsere Turn”, the society games from Berlin and the Boycott Qatar initiative.
“It’s about a morally degenerate Sports“
Basically, the protests and the fight against the acceptance of this World Cup are about “that people to enable a World Cuptournament disenfranchised and driven en masse to overwork heat death. It’s about a lack of freedom of the press and the worst forms of discrimination against women and the LGBTIQ* community,” said Dario Minden, spokesman for “Unsere Turn”, the German Press Agency. “And that the football industry at the top doesn’t seem to care about all of this, if the wads of money being waved are big enough. It’s about a morally depraved sport that can still be harnessed to any cart.”
Before the World Cup tournament from November 20 to December 18, Qatar 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.
At the beginning of the week, the German Football Association (DFB) organized a congress on Qatar with experts. Abdulla Mohammed al Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to Germany, emphasized that his country has been the focus for twelve years and has initiated many changes. The situation is “not perfect yet”, the change takes time: “It’s not at 100 percent, it’s a journey.”
Minden addresses ambassadors directly
A touching scene unfolded when fan representative Minden addressed the ambassador directly and said calmly but firmly in English: “I’m a man and I love men. I have sex with other men. That’s normal. Getting used to it Get involved or get out of football.” The appeal caused a stir online.
The “ProFans” alliance with its many supporters from the ultra scene did not even want to take part in “such a whitewashing” as it was said at the association’s congress. “The congress obviously has more the function of calming the conscience of the DFB leadership and presenting the association to the public as committed to human rights,” it said in a statement.
In any case, the DFB and the Coordination Office for Fan Projects (KOS) will use mobile fan support for the German World Cup games in Qatar. The world association FIFA meanwhile advertised this week for its newly designed fan festival in “a spectacular location in al-Bidda Park in Doha” with “completely new entertainment offers”.
In August, DFB President Bernd Neuendorf spoke to representatives of the LGBTIQ* community, who advise against traveling to Qatar. The English abbreviation stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans people, intersex and queer people. The asterisk is a placeholder for additional identities and genders.
DFB wants to exert influence within the scope of its possibilities
When asked by dpa, the “Fan Club National Team” said that with regard to human rights issues during the World Cup, “pay careful attention to the conditions for the employees of companies with whom it will work directly in Qatar”. Should “problems arise during the DFB’s own analyzes and during the stay, the DFB will exert influence within the scope of its possibilities and try to remedy the situation”. The Fan Club, whose fan camp will be in Dubai, is also based on this.
According to Minden, nothing more can be expected in the Bundesliga stadiums from “Our Curve” than posters or banners protesting against the World Cup in Qatar: “After all, it’s not an issue like 50+1 or kick-off times where Pressure on the German associations can have noticeable effects.”
Innkeepers announce World Cup renunciation
In North Rhine-Westphalia, the announcement by restaurateurs that they would not broadcast World Cup games (“No Qatar in my pub”) made headlines. “Everyone has the right not to watch the games,” said German FIFA security chief Helmut Spahn, who has lived and worked in Qatar, in an interview with the “Frankfurter Rundschau”. “But I also notice that we have a huge ticket request.”
When it comes to human rights, it is interesting “that organizations such as Amnesty International or the international trade unions are refraining from calling for a boycott because they recognize the progress made in the country and also see the World Cup as a driving force here,” said Spahn.
The “scandal tournament”, warns “Unsere Curve”, must not take place without protests and critical accompaniment from civil society. According to spokesman Minden, many clubs are planning alternative events parallel to the sporting highlights of the World Cup, such as debates about the tournament and the country or about other fan-political topics or readings. Or they just play and watch football, as the “Back2Bolzen” initiative suggests: “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a little kick with friends, table football or supporting the local district league club.”