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Friday, July 12, 2024

London, Paris Balk At World Cup Watch Parties

  • London is joining Paris and other cities in not hosting World Cup watch parties.
  • The decision is in protest of Qatar's human rights record.

Some of the world’s biggest soccer hubs are tuning out the World Cup.

London joined Paris and other French cities in declining to organize fan zones or watch parties in protest of World Cup host Qatar’s human rights record.

The November tournament “progressively turned itself into a human and environmental catastrophe, incompatible with the values which we expect sport, and especially football, to promote,” said Marseille mayor Benoît Payan.

Paris mayor Martine Aubry cited concerns over workers’ rights, alleged deaths of foreign workers, and the environmental impacts of the stadiums, which will have outdoor air conditioning.

Qatar is reportedly conscripting hundreds of civilians to work security at the event.

  • London drew roughly 7,000 fans to Trafalgar Square in July to watch the Women’s Euro 2022 final, which England won.
  • Officials in French cities Lille, Bordeaux, Reims, Nancy, and Rodez also indicated that they will break from previous practice and not offer fan-gathering sites.

Player Protest

The soccer teams of England, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Wales, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark all support the OneLove campaign, which fights discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. 

The teams that will be playing in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal, have asked to wear OneLove armbands during World Cup matches. England is prepared to pay a fine to FIFA if permission is not granted.

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