Paris will not broadcast World Cup matches on giant screens in public fan zones amid concerns over rights violations of migrant workers and the environmental impact of the tournament in Qatar.
It follows similar moves by other French cities, despite France going in as the defending champion.
Pierre Rabadan, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of sports, told reporters in the French capital that the decision against public broadcasting of matches is due to “the conditions of the organisation of this World Cup, both on the environmental and social level.”
He said in an interview with France Blue Paris that “air-conditioned stadiums” and the “conditions in which these facilities have been built are to be questioned.”
Rabadan stressed that Paris is not boycotting the football tournament but explained that Qatar’s “model of staging big events goes against what [Paris, the host of the 2024 Olympics] wants to organise.”
The move comes despite the city’s football club, Paris Saint-Germain, being 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,” Rabadan said.
A growing number of French cities are refusing to erect screens to broadcast World Cup matches to protest Qatar’s human rights record.
The mayor of Strasbourg, the northeast seat of the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights, cited allegations of human rights abuses and exploitation of migrant workers in Qatar as the reason for canceling public broadcasts of the World Cup.
“It’s impossible for us to ignore the many warnings of abuse and exploitation of migrant workers by non-governmental organisations,” Jeanne Barseghian said in a statement. “We cannot condone these abuses, we cannot turn a blind eye when human rights are violated.”
Barseghian also expressed concern over the environmental impact.
“While climate change is a palpable reality, with fires and droughts and other disaster, organising a soccer tournament in the desert defies common sense and amounts to an ecological disaster,” she said.