Some pub owners in Germany will not be showing matches of the upcoming Qatar World Cup, saying they took the decision from “an ethical standpoint” given the Gulf state’s record on human rights.
Qatar, the first Middle Eastern country to host the World Cup, has come under intense international pressure for its treatment of foreign workers and restrictive social laws.
Disquiet over the country’s human rights record has led to calls for teams and officials to boycott the games at the November 20- December 18 tournament.
“Too many human rights were violated and from an ethical standpoint, I can’t justify it,” Fanny Delaune, owner of “Babel” sports bar in Bonn, told Reuters.
“Some understand it and others will watch anyway but ultimately, it’s my bar and my decision.”
Tobias Epping, who owns “Die Wache” bar, will also do the same.
“Not just me but also my regular customers who I asked to vote on Facebook and Instagram decided not to show the World Cup because there was a point when we said ‘enough’,” he said.
“The number of workers killed went beyond 15,000, stadiums are air conditioned during times like these and you can’t even drink a beer which for me as a bar owner obviously is a part of it: no. We can no longer support that.
“From an economic point of view: was this a smart decision? Probably not. But at least you can go to a bar with a clean conscience…”
A Guardian newspaper analysis in February 2021 concluded 6 500 South Asian migrants had died in Qatar since 2010 and the International Labour Organisation has said Qatar is not adequately reporting worker deaths.
Qatar’s World Cup organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), have disputed claims that thousands of people have died during the preparations for the tournament.
Qatar’s government has said its labour system is a work in progress but denied a 2021 Amnesty report that thousands of migrant workers were still being exploited.
A female fan, who did not share her name, said she would support the boycott by the bars.
“Even if Qatar had great stadiums and fantastically paid workers, in any case a World Cup during the winter is stupid,” she said.
“But in this case, it’s totally unacceptable. I don’t feel like watching and I fully support a boycott. I won’t be watching.”
The SC, which has promised a carbon neutral World Cup, says the stadium cooling systems require about a fifth of the energy typical to cool spaces of the same size, such as airport terminals or closed baseball fields.
The World Cup will be held in late autumn, when Qatar’s summer heat has subsided and temperatures usually fall to mid-20 degrees Celsius.