Majority of Germans want to boycott Qatar World Cup, survey finds
Amid a series of fan protests and revelations of homophobic comments made by Qatar’s World Cup ambassador, an online survey has revealed that the majority of Germans support a boycott of the imminent men’s football tournament.
Majority of Germans support a World Cup public screening boycott
An online survey conducted via the internet by German magazine FOCUS and the Civey Opinion Research Institute has revealed that 65 percent of Germans support a public screening boycott of the 2022 men’s World Cup, which is set to begin in Qatar in just 11 days.
While the majority support such a boycott, opinions are divided across lines of age and political leanings. According to the survey 74 percent of people aged 30 to 39 would endorse a boycott, while 60 percent of those over 65 years old would do the same.
87 percent of Green voters believe that a public screening boycott in Germany would be a good idea, while AfD voters are divided on the matter - with 51 percent in favour. Among those who align themselves with the liberal FDP, 46 percent would endorse cancelling World Cup match public broadcasting.
World Cup ambassador calls homosexuality a “damage in the mind”
Responses to the FOCUS survey come after a series of fan protests and scandals surrounding the upcoming tournament.
Over the weekend in Germany, football fans attended the penultimate weekend of the nationwide Bundesliga competition to demonstrate their opposition to Qatar hosting the quadrennial competition. Most notably, Hertha BSC fans at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin brandished a sign reading “15.000 dead for 5.760 minutes of football. Shame on you!” ("15.000 Töte für 5.760 Minuten Fussball. Schӓmt euch!”). Fans also waved rainbow Pride flags.
Qatar’s criminalisation of homosexuality has been at the forefront of criticism of the country’s oppressive politics in the lead up the the competition. And in a TV documentary broadcast by ZDF in Germany on Tuesday evening, Qatar’s World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman made blatant homophobic comments which added fuel to the fire.
In an interview with sports journalist Jochen Breyer, Salman said that when children see LGBT+ people, “they learn something that is not good”. Before Salman was cut off by his PR team he added that “homosexuality is a damage in the mind”.
Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser was quick to respond to Salman’s comments. At a press conference she said, “Of course such statements are terrible and that’s also why we are hoping to improve things in Qatar.”
In wake of the comments, LGBT+ activists took to the streets in Zurich to protest the World Cup outside the FIFA museum in the Swiss city.
Speaking to The Guardian at the Zurich protests, director of the All Out LGBT+ charity said, “We are demanding from FIFA and the Qatari government that LGBT+ football fans who travel to Qatar to enjoy the sport are safe and protected and can be their authentic selves. But even more critically, we’re demanding that LGBT Qataris who face daily threats to their very existence are given safety going forward.”
Qatari minister accuses Germany of double standards
Responding to Faeser’s condemnation of Qatar’s homophobic laws and Salman’s comments, the country’s foreign minister has accused Germany of double standards.
Speaking to the FAZ newspaper, Qatari foreign minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said that his government is “annoyed by the double standards”.
The minister pointed out that the German government applies different standards when it comes to the highly-publicised sports tournament and more discrete energy policies. “The [German] government has no problem with Qatar when it comes to energy partnerships and investments [...] or the rescue of German citizens from Afghanistan,” the minister told FAZ.
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