For her, major international competitions usually rhyme with long journeys. However, among the French team’s most ardent supporters are many who will not be traveling to Qatar during the next World Cup (November 20 – December 18).
If this relative absence cannot be explained solely by boycott requests, some regular guests assume that they will not go to the small emirate out of conviction. Eric Declety is one of them. An active member of the “Corsairs,” a Dunkirk-based blues supporters group, he claims a “Diplomatic Boycott”.
“The leaders of this country are disreputable people. We should never have let them organize the competition. You paid for it, it’s not acceptable. »
The Lille player, who was present at the France-Argentina round of 16 in Russia in 2018 and most of the trips to the Nations League, made his decision a few years ago. “I told the group from the start that I will not go to Qatar. The boycott issue is now very present in politics and the media, but it is too late to talk about it. When the organizing country was determined, we had to be relocated. »
The question remains of observing the competition from afar. The football enthusiast is torn between wanting to follow the every four-yearly gathering and wanting to express his disapproval of the goal chosen to host the event.
“It’s still questionable in my mind. I’m a fan of the France team, it would be really heartbreaking to deny me their gameshe admits. What is certain is that I cannot see any other game in the competition to stay as close to my conviction as possible. »
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A boycott since the playoffs
Soufyane Guesmia, 63 blues games on the clock, has long pondered this question. And radical. A member of Irresistibles Français, the French team’s main support group, for eight years, he has chosen to ignore the competition. A total boycott by ignoring all playoff games of the competition, in the stadium and on TV.
That’s a total of eight Blues meetings between March and November 2021, not counting the Algerian national team, whose performances he also closely follows. “I started thinking about it in 2010 when the competition was awarded to Qatar. But initially it was more to do with the corruption surrounding that election and the fact that it wasn’t a footballing country at all. »
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“Be totally consistent”
For him the “click” finally took place in February 2021, when the Guardian inquiry revealed that at least 6,500 foreign workers died on World Cup stadium construction sites. “It was the element that changed my position. It was added to all the abuses known in this country: the situation of women, homosexuals, migrants, the ecological aspect… Of course it’s very frustrating as a football fan, but I’ve decided to be very consistent. »
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The 33-year-old supporter had already considered a boycott in 2018 before the World Cup in Russia, where he finally went to attend a game of the band at Didier Deschamps. “We could ask ourselves questions about human rightshe rewinds. But there was no death for building stadiums as far as I know. And Russia has a football culture. » This time it will be without him.