Karim Benzema Emmanuel Macron Football Qatar France county Lyon Sporting Karim Benzema Emmanuel Macron Football Qatar France county Lyon

French cities ban big screens, fan zones for World Cup games to protest Qatar's human rights record

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channelnewsasia.com

LYON: Defending champions France may have won their World Cup opening match in Qatar, but there has been less of a festive atmosphere back home this time.

Across the country, there have been protests over purported human rights violations by the host nation. Many French cities such as Paris and Marseille have also agreed not to install big screens or set up fan zones for the World Cup games, which is being held during the northern hemisphere winter.

In Lyon, for instance, city representatives have been outspoken over concerns about alleged human rights abuses and the environmental impact of hosting a World Cup in the tiny Gulf nation of Qatar.“The values of this World Cup are totally the opposite of ours,” said Lyon’s secretary of sport Julie Nublat-Faure. “There’s a denial of human rights, there’s environmental irresponsibility and there are concerns over freedom.

So that’s what drove our city not to celebrate the World Cup, not to build fan zones or special sports villages, and also not to promote the tournament.”But French President Emmanuel Macron said ahead of the controversy-tainted tournament in Qatar that “you must not politicise sport”, with his office noting that he would attend games there if France reaches the semi-finals.Despite the political concerns, the World Cup is a time to unite, said artist Julien Bard.

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