This World Cup in Qatar looks a bit like an advent calendar. Every day has its surprise. Some are quite bitter, but others have the “taste to go back”. The November 23 box alone is close to hyperglycemia. First there was the image of the Belgian foreign minister, Hadja Lahbib, wearing the “One Love” armband in the stands during the Red Devils’ victory against Canada (1-0). A bracelet adorned with a colorful heart, intended to combat all forms of discrimination, which the International Football Federation (FIFA) has banned team captains from wearing. Then, we sank our hands back into the packet of sweets with the photo of the players of the German team, one hand over their mouth, as though gagged, to criticize Fifa’s decision. And finally, the icing on the cake, this statement by Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, French sports minister, who encourages the French team to follow the example of their German counterparts.
“There are still spaces of freedom”
Speaking on the microphones of the public Senate channel, the minister was asked to react to the gesture of the Nationalmannschaft players. “I think the decision made by FIFA to ban this One Love armband has not finished the ink. Would I have wished there was a space of full freedom? The answer is clearly yes. Are there spaces of freedom left where our French team can continue to express its commitment to human rights? The answer is yes, insisted the minister. The Germans prove it. I think everything will continue. »
A political world
But that is not all. Amélie Oudéa-Castéra was also asked to answer the question “can sport be political”. A reference to Emmanuel Macron’s statement, the day before the World Cup, that he said: “we must not politicize sport”. Cleverly, the sports minister evaded the question, but his answer clearly shows that he does not support the president’s position: “Sport should not be the subject of useless political controversies and controversies,” he said. This is called kicking. Whatever the French president says, the words and images related to the world of Qatar these days demonstrate that rarely has a sporting competition been so political.
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