He will leave… if France manages to reach the semi-finals. This “biscuit”, handed by Emmanuel Macron to the “blue” at the dawn of the start of the World Cup in Qatar, outraged many. “We should not politicize sports,” the President of the Republic argued, rejecting the idea of a boycott, despite Qatar’s non-compliance with human rights, state discrimination and many deaths at the construction sites of the World Cup. Does presence equate to tolerance? This question has been asked by other leaders around the world.
The list of countries that will be represented in Qatar is much longer, so much so that it is difficult to compile an exhaustive list. The United States will leave in the person of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. And he will not wait for his team to leave the pools: he will attend his first match on November 21 against Wales. The Netherlands also decided to send one of its representatives, the Minister of Sports.
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In addition to Emmanuel Macron, Amélie Oudéa-Castera also announced that she would go to Qatar on the condition that the Blues reach the quarter-finals, reasoning that “her role” as sports minister is to be “with the team” in this moment. “This World Cup is also an opportunity to draw attention to this country and continue to ignite the diplomatic fire for human rights,” she added. As for Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, he will represent France at the opening ceremony “at the request of the President of the Republic”, according to his cabinet.
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One more country is expected in Qatar, despite the criticism it faces: the Welsh government. “The government does not underestimate the serious problems that this tournament has raised for citizens, sports organizations and governments around the world,” however, noted his economy minister, deeming it “reasonable that people take different positions on this issue.”
Denmark, which has long opposed the organization of the World Cup in Qatar due to human rights violations, will not go there. Boycott? Not officially. The government justifies this empty seat by holding talks to form a new government after Mette Frederiksen’s victory earlier this month. The same phrase for the royal family: “This time I can’t wait to encourage the team from home,” the crown prince said on Instagram.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso turned down an invitation from Qatar to attend the opening match between the two countries, giving up his seat to his vice president. And for good reason: in recent weeks, Ecuador has faced violence and insecurity. Therefore, its president explained that his “priority” was to solve this problem.
Another country that turned down the invitation: Argentina. There, we would not like to give the impression that ministers are having fun when the country is in a critical economic situation. Thus, the president banned his ministers and himself from traveling to Qatar to participate in the World Cup.
New British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said through his administration that his trip to Qatar was “not planned”, without saying clearly why or if that could change.