“ Ousmane Dembélé, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann … “ Thursday 18 March, during a press conference organized at the headquarters of the French Football Federation (FFF), coach Didier Deschamps has listed the names of the 26 players selected for the next matches of the French team. In front of Ukraine, on Wednesday 24 March, they will begin their qualification campaign for the next World Cup.
This competition, which pits the best players in the world against each other, will take place in November and December 2022. It will be played in Qatar, a small country on the Arabian Peninsula. On the ground, the French team, holder of the title, will try to win a second consecutive victory. A rare performance, performed only twice in history, from Italy (1934 and 1938) and from Brazil (1958 and 1962). The sporting issue is exciting. Expected the flashes of Kylian Mbappé, the defensive folds of Ngolo Kanté and the contrasts of Raphaël Varane. The final in July 2018, between France and Croatia, was followed by 1.1 billion viewers worldwide.
But, off the pitch, a scent of scandal hovers around this World Cup. The competition was awarded to Qatar in a context of alleged corruption and high-level agreements, in particular involving a French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, as revealed Mediapart. Above all, the World Cup represents, even before its kick-off, a human and ecological disaster, which Reporter introduce yourself.
“ The World Cup in Qatar is a huge graveyard “
More than 6,500 workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar since the country won the 2022 World Cup ten years ago. This figure was revealed on Tuesday, February 23 by The Guardian, which crossed the data of the governments of these countries, the main suppliers of labor in Qatar. The actual death toll would be even higher, as no data was collected from other countries, including the Philippines and Kenya, which have many citizens working in Qatar.
“ The World Cup in Qatar is a huge graveyard “sighs Nicolas Kssis-Martov, journalist from So foot and author of the book Playgrounds, wrestling fields (Atelier editions, 2020). “ This unfortunately is not a scoop, specification of Reporter. For at least eight years, NGO, trade unions and the international press have warned about the plight of these sacrificed workers. “
Second The Guardian, thirty-seven deaths would be directly attributable to the construction or renovation of eight stadiums, but the sites are not limited to sports arenas. Since 2010, the year in which the World Cup was awarded, Qatar has built airports, roads, its first metro network and even hotels, projects related to the organization of the World Cup. The emirate is also building a new city from scratch, Lusail, with a capacity of 250,000. Judge of the British newspaper “ likely “ that most of these deaths are related to these major projects.
According to the Qatari government, the death toll “ includes deceased white-collar workers “of course” after living in Qatar for many years “, he writes The Guardian. “ A very high percentage of migrant workers who have died since 2011 were in the country only because Qatar won the right to host the World Cup “said Nick McGeehan, director of FairSquare Projects, an organization dedicated to protecting workers in the Gulf.
The notion of “ natural death “ is the variable geometry. In July 2019, a study published by Journal of Cardiology, showed the link between deaths caused by cardiovascular accidents and the effects of prolonged exposure of workers to high temperatures. He was demonstrating the “ relationship between heat exposure and the deaths of over 1,300 Nepalese workers between 2009 and 2017 “.
However, a FIFA spokesman told the British newspaper, without providing any evidence, that“ with very strict health and safety measures on the sites […] the frequency of accidents at Fifa World Cup construction sites was low compared to other major construction projects around the world “.
“ Is it really possible to tolerate thousands of people dying from heat or accidents just to meet a football competition schedule? ? “ protests Nicolas Kssis-Martov, who went to Nepal since 2014 and found that the dead were returning from Qatar “ daily “. The journalist denounces the apathy of managers, such as those of the French Football Association, who it has already ruled out any idea of a boycott. “ We are talking about thousands of corpses piled up in front of the eyes of world football. Who still wants to kick the ball in the shadow of these invisible pyramids of corpses ? “ he writes in So foot.
Following the investigations of The Guardian, some Norwegian clubs have asked their federation to take a stand in favor of the boycott. “ The fact that corruption, modern slavery and a high number of casualties are the basis of the most important thing we have, the World Cup, is absolutely unacceptable. “, stressed Tromsø HE, the first Norwegian club to call for a boycott. The Norwegian Federation will organize a congress in June to make its decision. But whatever the outcome of this debate, its weight will be limited: the Nordic country does not participate in a major international competition since Euro 2000.
“ The 2022 World Cup will be profoundly anti-ecological “
To enhance the image of the competition, the International Federation of Association Football and Qatar are highlighting “ innovative environmental solutions “ is green stages. Therefore, one of the stadiums that will host the World Cup is completely demountable and transportable, because it is built from containers. “ Construction of the Ras Abu Aboud stadium will require fewer materials, create less waste and reduce the carbon footprint “, congratulated FIFA in 2017. The enclosure was built on an artificial peninsula, which allows the waters of the Persian Gulf all around to power the air conditioning system.
– FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 26, 2017
Minister of the Environment of Qatar promised, in October 2018, a “ carbon neutral footprint “ competition, thanks to a balance obtained between greenhouse gas emissions and the ability of ecosystems to absorb them. Without being more precise … or reassuring the defenders of the environment.
“ The idea at times defending a totally ecological World is above all a communication action: the World 2022, on the contrary, will be profoundly anti-ecological. “, warns Gilles Paché, professor of management sciences at the University of Aix-Marseille.
Qatar’s climate pedigree is heavy. It is the country in the world that refuses the most CO2 per person in the atmosphere, with 37 tons per capita in 2017. The French average is 5.2 tons per capita (but 11.5 tons if imported emissions are taken into account). “ With its cities in the middle of the desert, Qatar is a magnifying mirror of the ills of our society in terms of resource management, continues Gilles Paché. In a small space, this country concentrates all the excesses of a society of the spectacle, the consumerist excesses. “
There is also a persistent criticism, which appeared as soon as the World Cup was awarded “ unsuitable weather conditions for playing high-level football “, explains the professor. Usually, the World Cup is scheduled every four years between June and July. However, the outside temperature in Qatar can therefore reach 45 ° C, or even higher. Fifa has therefore moved the World Cup to November and December, when temperatures hover at least around 25 ° C.
A giant air conditioning system has been installed in each of the stadiums to prevent players and spectators from suffocating in the hot weather. During the World Athletics Championships in October 2019, the 3,000 vents at the Khalifa Stadium lowered the temperature at the edge of the slopes at 25 ° C, while mercury rose to 42 ° C in Doha. “ By its nature, air cooling generates significant energy expenditure and air conditioners are responsible for the temperature increase in large urban centers by rejecting the heat they have pumped outside. “, deplores Gilles Paché.
- France coach Didier Deschamps at a press conference on Thursday 18 March.
“ We are told, for example, that there will be solar energy to make this work, but in what proportion ? No reply, Thierry Salomon, of the negaWatt association, declared in October 2019 to Parisian. What we do know, however, is that most of the electricity produced in Qatar is produced by thermal power plants. “
Thursday 18th March Reporter took the necessary steps to be able to attend the press conference of the French team coach, Didier Deschamps. We wanted to know if his players and staff, reigning world champions, were aware of the investigation into The Guardian, and if they were embarrassed to play in air-conditioned stadiums. The French Football Association has not granted Ecology Daily accreditation, “ due to health restrictions “. These questions were not asked by accredited journalists.
Source: Alexandre-Reza Kokabi for Reporter
. chapô: the construction site of the Lusail Stadium, about twenty kilometers from Doha, the capital of Qatar, at the end of December 2019 © Giuseppe Cacae /AFP