“This football World Cup, the first organised in the Arab world, bears witness to the concrete changes that are at work. Qatar has embarked on this path and must continue. He can count on our support,” tweeted the French president.
This Football World Cup, the first organised in the Arab world, bears witness to the concrete changes that are… https://t.co/hItPtP3cnC
—EmmanuelMacron (@Emmanuel Macron)
Qatar has implemented steps to enhance safety and penalise obstinate employers after receiving harsh criticism for the fatalities, injuries, and unpaid pay of foreign workers participating in building the World Cup infrastructure. The government has also made compensation payments totalling hundreds of millions of euros for unpaid salaries.
The day before the competition started, on November 17, Mr Macron had thought it unnecessary to “politicise sports.” However, the President of the Republic reiterated on Twitter on Saturday night that “in a world beset by a series of crises, we must preserve the spirit of sport, which must remain a space for bringing people together around universal principles.”
However, political gestures on and off the field were noticeable at the beginning of the competition. In particular, German national team players covered their lips during their opening game to protest FIFA’s rules prohibiting using an armband, signifying the battle against prejudice.