Several major French cities including Bordeaux, Marseille and Lille have said they will not organise fan zones or put up giant outdoor screens to show Qatar World Cup matches in protest against ecological and humanitarian issues surrounding the tournament and the country.
The mayors of those cities said the loss of immigrant workers' lives during construction of the stadiums in Qatar and the energy that will be wasted to cool the sports arenas means they would not promote the tournament that runs from 20 November to 18 December.
"It would be a farce if we were to be complicit with the humanitarian and ecological abuses that are embodied by this World Cup," ecologist Bordeaux mayor Pierre Hurmic said on BFM TV on Monday.
Qatar has faced widespread criticism from human rights groups and media over its treatment of migrant workers, as have football’s governing body Fifa for having allowed the tournament to go ahead due to the country’s attitudes and laws against women and homosexuals.
In February 2021, a report from The Guardian concluded 6,500 South Asian migrants had died in Qatar since 2010, and the International Labour Organisation has said Qatar is not adequately reporting worker deaths.
Qatar's World Cup organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), have disputed the claim that "the tournament has cost thousands of people their lives".
Hurmic added: “It would be really difficult to have a party while forgetting the dead bodies and the humanitarian situation in the aberration that is the World Cup in Qatar.”
The socialist mayor of Marseille, Benoit Payan, denounced the competition as a "human and environmental disaster.”
Martine Aubry, the mayor of Lille, revealed that her city would not show matches on giant screens out of disapproval for the tournament in the Middle East. She called the World Cup in Qatar "a nonsense in terms of human rights, the environment and sport.”
Last week, Strasbourg, the home of the European parliament, became the first major French city to ban World Cup fan zones, with its ecologist mayor Jeanne Barseghian denouncing the abuse of workers' rights while also citing environmental reasons.