Will there be supporters of the French team in Doha? Without a doubt. But much less than in Russia, Brazil or South Africa. The workforce of the Irrésistibles Français (IF), the main association of supporters of the Blues (1100 members), will melt like snow in the sun in Doha. The reasons are multiple, we will come back to it, but the observation is bitter for lovers of the Blues. The French team will not have the same support as during its Russian epic because if the IFs only represent part of the supporters of the French team in major international competitions, they are still the driving element. The voice of those who sing for world champions.
The supporters of the Blues against Portugal
Credit: Getty Images
“We were 600 in Russia, we will be 50 at best in Qatarsays Anne Costes, vice-president of the association. Me, for example, I have done all the competitions since the 2006 World Cup and I will not go to Qatar because it is far too expensive.“In question, the price of tickets (match and plane) and the accommodation solutions offered by FIFA. “Attending the final, for example, means dropping 3,000 euros! 620 euros for a match ticket (compared to 400 in Russia), around 1500 euros for the plane ticket and Qatar forces us to take at least three nights on site, which is unprecedented and absurd when we risk missing out accommodation. Suddenly, the bill goes up very quickly and I can’t afford it“, says the vice-president.
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In the supporters category, the price of group matches has fallen compared to the rates applied in Russia, going from 90 to 60 euros. But from the 8th, they increased by 10%. “It’s not the World Cup for fans but for the rich or the influencers“, says Kin, a former member of the IF who will also skip next winter for the first time since 2014. The accommodation offer is however varied to accommodate the 1.2 million supporters expected in a country that only has 3 million inhabitants.
It oscillates between 76 euros per night for single steel beds in studios to luxury rooms in villas or even on two cruise ships (900 euros/night) which will be stationed in the port of Doha. But the problem is elsewhere for the supporters: “You can only book accommodation if you have match ticketsinforms us Anne Costes. However, we have to wait until May 31 to find out if we have managed to obtain a ticket. I have no assurance that there will be accommodation left then and the cheapest accommodation is far from Doha.“
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I have a pride, an honor. Money doesn’t buy everything.
The Qatari government and FIFA have reserved 130,000 rooms in hotels or apartments for the competition. That may not be enough to absorb the massive influx of supporters and they might set up fan-only desert camps. “There is indeed a campsite offered but nothing is explained, we simply see a tent in the desert without knowing the servicescontinues the vice-president of the IF. Finally, group accommodation does not exist beyond 6 people and for a group like ours, it is problematic.”
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There remains one last barrier: the pure and simple boycott of the competition. “Me, like many other FIs, I don’t go there because I don’t recognize myself either in this organization or in this state that is Qatar.says Kin. I am sensitive to the plight of migrant workers who worked on stadium sites in deplorable conditions. And then I was shocked by the program called “Fan leader”. Qatar has invited supporters of different nationalities to visit the various World Cup venues for the draw, in return for positive communication on social networks. They disguised them, they made grotesque music videos with them. I have a pride, an honor. Money doesn’t buy everything.”
If the Irrésistibles Français association has not decided on a boycott, many members have taken, like Kin, the decision not to endorse a “Money World Cup“.”But the stadiums will be full and, at worst, they will give flags and disguise ordinary people“, concludes, disillusioned, Kin. For him, as for many other supporters, this World Cup already has a bitter taste.
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