Cantona, Lahm, town halls: They called for a boycott of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar


Eric Cantonaformer player of the France team, actor: “I don’t care about the next World Cup, which is not a real World Cup for me (…) Qatar is not a football country. I am not against the idea of ​​hosting a World Cup in a country where there is a possibility to develop and promote football, like in South Africa or the United States in the 1990s. (.. .) But in Qatar, the truth is that there is no such potential. There is nothing. It’s only about the money and the way they treated the people who build the stadiums is horrible. And thousands of people died.” (DailyMailJanuary 2022)

Philip Lahmcaptain of the 2014 world champion Germany team and director of Euro-2024: “As a fan, I’m not very keen on going there. I prefer to follow the tournament from home. Human rights should play an important role in awarding tournaments.” (KickerAugust 2022)

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Vikash Dhorasooformer player of the France team, finalist of the World Cup-2006: “The times are changing. And when footballers unite, it hurts. (…) From now on, we too get up and break! Disobeying is the basis. Disobeying is the beginning of action. It’s time for football players to shake up the old world of instances.” (Tribune for the daily ReleaseSeptember 26)

Josh CavalloAustralian footballer who came out as gay in 2021: “I think in our world we should be equal in everything. Going to a country that criminalizes people like me… It’s quite disturbing.” (CNN, October 18).

German club TSG Hoffenheim (1st division): “We don’t want to talk about this World Cup lightly. It must be placed clearly in its context (…). We believe that purely sporting coverage, focusing only on goals and performances, without considering the conditions in which this so-called football party takes place is out of the question..”

Supporters of En Avant Guingamp, a football club playing in Ligue 2 (2nd French division), unfurl a banner in a stand “Boycott Qatar 2022“, during the visit of FIFA President Gianni Infantino to the Roudourou stadium. (April 2022)

Fabien Bonnell (co-founder of the association of supporters Irrésistibles français): “When I said to myself that I was going to party, celebrate goals, live great moments where people died, I tipped over into the idea of ​​not going to Qatar, of condemning this World Cup ( …) I will not watch the matches, not even those of the France team.” (France Info, September 19)

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Tom Daleygay British diver, Olympic champion at Tokyo 2020: “The World Cup in Qatar is subject to extreme rules against LGBT+ people and women. I think it should not be allowed to host a sporting event in a country that criminalizes basic human rights.”

Culture and media

Vincent Lindonactor: “I will not watch the World Cup. I think it’s a – and I’m weighing my words – repugnant story. We are going to a country which, on paper, had zero chance of having the World Cup: neither the spectators, nor the infrastructure, nor the climate. In fact, I believe that today we let ourselves be devoured by blood red money.” (France Inter, August 2022)

Virginie Despentesnovelist: “It’s not even about cynicism anymore. This sad affair is on another level. (…) However, it is true that very few people objected. People don’t yell too much. They will surely stall in front of the matches and it seems that they sell a lot of tickets.” (Interview given to SoFootSeptember 12)

The Daily of the meeting: “This World Cup, more than any other sporting or cultural event before it, crystallizes intolerable attacks on human dignity and freedoms (…) From today, there will be no more in these columns and on our website no article or advertisement evoking the sporting aspect of this Mondial-2022.” (editorial on the site, September 13)


Several French municipalities, all political colors combined, (Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Toulouse…), will not broadcast on giant screens the World Cup in Qatargiving up the festivities regardless of the performance of the Blues.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the La France Insoumise movement (LFI): “If there was a battle for the boycott, I would take part in it, but I don’t have many illusions. It’s a shame what’s happening there. ” (RTL, April 2021)

Other French political figures, such as Francois Hollandeformer President of the Republic, Olivier Faurefirst secretary of the Socialist Party, or Lawrence Bergergeneral secretary of the CFDT, said they validated the idea of ​​a boycott.

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