Paris joins growing list of French cities boycotting Qatar World Cup fan zones
Paris — As the 2018 FIFA World Cup is set to kick off on June 16 in Qatar, the French capital is making a rare step to raise awareness of Qatar’s financial and political ties to the country and its national teams.
Paris will now join a growing list of French cities in boycotting the Qatar-backed World Cup fan zones, in a bid to make clear Qatar isn’t a FIFA member, which would make it ineligible to host the tournament.
The decision was made after the recent arrest of 12 Qatari men for alleged ties to a terror group.
The list of places where the Paris municipal government says it will not allow fans to gather when the World Cup kicks off on June 16 includes France’s national stadium, the Parc des Princes, the National Centre for Scientific Research, the French Foreign Ministry and Le Point newspaper.
The list also includes several other French cities including Avignon, Le Havre and Montpellier, where the French Foreign Ministry has refused to issue visas to Qatari nationals for entering France for the World Cup.
The boycott is the latest in a series of actions against the Qatar-backed World Cup, which has faced criticism from human rights advocates over the arrests of 12 Qatari citizens of the country’s diplomatic corps who are currently being held in a prison in Doha.
After the arrests, the European Union declared Qatar to be “a non-cooperative jurisdiction” as Qatari FIFA members took legal action against a recent European Court of Human Rights case against Qatar.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said Thursday: “The arrests of foreign nationals should not be used as a pretext for other actions, such as the boycotting of the World Cup. Qatari people have a right to travel abroad. There is no justification for the boycott of stadiums for the World Cup.”
France is expected to host the women’s World Cup in 2019, and the men’s World Cup in 2022.
In February, the French government announced that the city of Lyon would host the 2022 World Cup on its