October 4 – Paris has become the latest French city to decide against broadcasting World Cup matches on giant screens in public amid concerns over rights violations of migrant workers in Qatar.
Following Lille, Strasbourg, Reims, Bordeaux and Marseille, the French capital will now snub the global finals by banning a public fan zone during the tournament.
“There is the problem of the environmental impact,” Pierre Rabadan, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of sports, told France Bleu Paris radio on Tuesday, citing “air-conditioned stadiums” as a key impact on the environment. “The conditions in which these facilities have been built are to be questioned as well,” he added.
The municipal decision will come as an embarrassment to capital club Paris Saint-Germain, which is owned by Qatar Sports Investments. “We have very constructive relations with the club and its entourage yet it doesn’t prevent us to say when we disagree,” said Rabadan.
Cities across France have decided to boycott the World Cup on human rights or ecological grounds. “It would be a farce if we were to be complicit with the humanitarian and ecological abuses that are embodied by this World Cup,” said ecologist Bordeaux mayor Pierre Hurmic on Monday.
Ever since being awarded the World Cup in 2010, Qatar has been criticised heavily by human rights groups and the international media for its treatment of migrant workers. Qatar and local organisers maintain that worker welfare has improved dramatically and point to the abolishment of the infamous Kafala system, which ties workers to their employers, but Human Rights Watch and other groups say these reforms are simply paper ones.
On 20 November, hosts Qatar and Ecuador will kick off the 22nd edition of the World Cup.
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