“What is your position on the World Cup boycott?
I am furious that we put football lovers in this situation. When you are passionate, the World Cup is the top in terms of emotions, pleasure, intensity. When you are in love with sport, in general, you defend values, of improvement, but also of respect, of collective play. This competition is completely contrary to my beliefs and what I believe to be the values of the sport. It’s an event granted under corrupted conditions, it’s cheating, in fact. It is also an aberrant fact from the ecological and human rights point of view. Therefore, we are trapped in a vice: our passion for football makes us want to watch, and our convictions mean that these events should not exist under these conditions.
How to get out of this contradiction?
I defend the political boycott. Qatar must not be able to get out of this the political instrumentalization that it intends to make of it, with heads of state, ministers who, in fact, participate in trying to trivialize what the Qatari regime is. Personally, I could commit to a France-Australia boycott, but if there is a France-Brazil, I don’t see why I wouldn’t look. I can’t say, “I’m sure I won’t see the World Cup.” So, the terrible thing is that football lovers, and in part footballers, experience contradictions that do not correspond to them. The FFF and France have been very supportive of Qatar’s bid and we call on football lovers to resolve the difficulties our leaders have thrown us into. We suffer, we do not vote for Qatar.
“We must block all political support. That’s what you have to break”
In your opinion, is it then necessary to fight exclusively on a diplomatic level?
We need consistency against Qatar. I called for a diplomatic boycott of China in the same way, but I fight against the Chinese dictatorship outside of the Olympics or the World Cup in my political functions. In the same way, France’s complacency towards Qatar on the sale of weapons, on a vision of religion, on the violation of human rights, I combat in the exercise of my responsibilities. I don’t suddenly discover what Qatar is. Otherwise, it’s a bit too easy.
Basically, would the World Cup boycott do any good?
Let’s take Brazil, in 2014. For months there was a very strong movement of opposition to the way it was organized: the mismanagement, the corruption, the construction of the stadiums, the claims of the mistreated indigenous communities. But the Brazilians also wanted the World Cup to be a celebration for their country. I think today we should block all political support. That’s what you have to break. And implement all the rules at the level of FIFA and IOC so that these tournaments stop being human tragedies and ecological aberrations. »