French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that it is not necessary to “politicise sport”, just a few days before the World Cup in Qatar is due to kick off.
The first football World Cup to be held in the Arab world has been the centre of a number of controversies regarding the living conditions and employment status of local workers, the impact on the environment of air-conditioned stadiums and the treatment of LGBTQ+ people and women by the state.
These wide ranging criticisms have led some fans, particularly from Western Europe, to state that they will boycott the competition. However, as reported by Le Monde, Macron has made it clear that he will go to Qatar if the French national team makes it to either the semi-finals or final.
The French team arrived in the capital Doha on Wednesday and have remained cautious about openly expressing its position on the controversies. The team have refused to partake in an initiative that several European teams have adopted, which is to wear a rainbow armband to show support for the fight against discrimination. FIFA have yet to clarify their position on this idea, with homosexuality criminalised in Qatar. The French captain Hugo Lloris has stated that “we must show respect” to the organising country in response to France’s position regarding discrimination in Qatar.
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