He will go… if France manages to qualify for the semi-finals. This “little biscuit” stretched out by Emmanuel Macron to the Blues, at the dawn of the start of the World Cup in Qatar, made many angry. “We must not politicize sport”, justified the President of the Republicrejecting the idea of a boycott, despite Qatar’s failure to respect human rights, state discrimination and the many deaths on the construction sites of the World Cup. Does a presence equal tolerance? Around the world, other leaders have asked the question.
Those who will go
The list of countries that will be represented in Qatar is much longer, so much so that it is difficult to draw an exhaustive one. The United States will go, in the person of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. And he won’t wait for his team sort of chickens: he will attend his first match on November 21, against Wales. The Netherlands have also decided to send one of their representatives, the Minister of Sports.
In addition to Emmanuel Macron, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, had also announced that she would go to Qatar on condition that the Blues reach the quarter-finals, justifying that it was “his role”, as Minister of Sports, to be “alongside the team” at this time. “This World Cup is also an opportunity to put the spotlight on this country and to continue to push the diplomatic fire for the respect of human rights”, she added. As for the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, he will represent France at the opening ceremony“at the request of the President of the Republic”, according to his cabinet.
Another country expected in Qatar, despite the criticism it is facing: the Welsh government. “The government does not underestimate the serious problems that this tournament has raised for citizens, sports bodies and governments around the world”, however noted its Minister of the Economy, judging “reasonable that people adopt positions different on the issue.
Those who won’t go
Denmark, for a long time opposed to the organization of the World Cup in Qatar due to non-respect of human rights, will not go there. Boycott? Not officially. The government justifies this empty chair by holding negotiations to form a new government, after Mette Frederiksen’s victory at the beginning of the month. Same line for the royal family: “This time, I can’t wait to encourage the team from home,” the crown prince revealed on Instagram.
The President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, refused the invitation of Qatar to attend the opening match of the competition, during which the national teams of the two countries compete, leaving his place to his vice-president. And for good reason: Ecuador has been facing an episode of violence and insecurity in recent weeks. Its president therefore explained that his “priority” was to solve this problem.
Another country that declined the invitation: Argentina. There, we would not want to give the impression that the ministers are having fun when the country is in a critical economic situation. The president thus banned his ministers and himself from traveling to Qatar to attend the World Cup.
The new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has, for his part, made it known via his administration that it was “not planned” for him to go to Qatar, without clearly saying why, or if this could change.