German football fans protest Qatar World Cup at Bundesliga’s last matches
German football fans have been using the last matches of the Bundesliga to protest conditions of the fast-approaching Qatar World Cup.
Bundesliga football fans protest Qatar World Cup
Saturday afternoon in Berlin saw fans of Hertha BSC and FC Bayern Munich gather at the city’s Olympic Stadium for the Bundesliga’s penultimate competition weekend.
In an organised effort to protest the Qatar World Cup, which will begin on November 20, fans from both teams came bearing banners which called out conditions in Qatar and FIFA’s decision to host the quadrennial competition in the politically oppressive country.
Fans of the football team from Munich displayed a large sign which read “15.000 dead for 5.760 minutes of football. Shame on you!” ("15.000 Töte für 5.760 Minuten Fussball. Schӓmt euch!”)
At another game in Dortmund in North Rhine-Westphalia, Borussia fans waved signs with similarly condemning slogans. One read: “A human catastrophe” (“Eine menschliche Katarstrophe”), playing on the host country’s name and the German word “Katastrophe” (catastrophe). Another said, “A thousand dead for a World Cup”. Among the banners some fans also waved rainbow Pride flags and held banners highlighting the Qatari government’s poor record of press freedom.
Qatar accused of buying football fans’ support
As boycott plans and opposition to the tournament grow in the mainstream, it has been reported that Qatar has paid travelling fans to keep schtum when it comes to political criticism.
Reports in T-online and Business Insider suggest that fans have been paid to be positive about the competition, chant selected songs and counter critical social media posts with positive experiences.
It remains to be seen whether a significant number of fans will boycott public screenings once the competition begins. But so far it seems that German football fans aren’t ready to sell out to propaganda efforts made by Qatar.
In neighbouring Switzerland, many fans seem to find Qatar's human rights record questionable enough to stay at home during this year's tournament. So far, only half of Switzerland's allocated tickets for the 2022 World Cup have been sold.