Paris joins big screen boycott of World Cup games from Qatar as World Cup 2018 kick-starts in a controversy-filled week in South Africa. The latest fallout came Wednesday, when FIFA president Gianni Infantino released a statement that said the game’s 2022 match with Russia will proceed as planned because Qatar is in the running to host the 2022 World Cup. FIFA’s decision to move the event will be met with immediate resistance and the organization made the announcement after a panel consisting of seven members had deliberated about whether to keep the 2018 World Cup due to Russia’s anti-LGBT laws.
The fallout over Qatar’s proposed World Cup bid has triggered a major diplomatic crisis and the boycott that has been in place for the last two years is likely to expand to other sports tournaments, including the World Cup. Infantino’s decision was a blow to the United States and Qatar, which has been the biggest supporters of the 2018 World Cup.
The FIFA president issued his statement before the results from the June 23 World Cup final between Netherlands and Argentina were available, meaning that not only did Infantino have to make his announcement before the final and the outcome of the game, but also without knowing the final score.
The World Cup, which has been sanctioned by Infantino since he took office in November 2015, has been met with a sharp rebuke and calls to boycott the event. Qatar’s bid was the largest one, but many countries and international organizations have backed other bids, including the United States, South Africa, Australia and Japan.
The boycott will not be the only sports boycott against Qatar World Cup bid. The organizers of next year’s World Athletics Championships and 2018 FIFA women’s World Cup in France have also decided against holding the event in Doha.
In the last week, the World Cup in Italy was marred when the Italian Football Federation called for fans to boycott the game. It was also an embarrassment for the Italian police force, who failed to protect fans from attacks by Roma ultras in Florence on the final day of the tournament.
The game, which the nation’s sports minister had suggested should be postponed �