No boycott of football World Cup as 10,000 French fans head to Qatar


France will not boycott the football World Cup in Qatar, its ambassador to the Gulf state said this week. So far 10,000 French fans have registered for passes to the tournament.

France's ambassador to Qatar, Jean-Baptiste Faivre, said in a television interview broadcast during the week that 300 French police and paramilitary gendarmes will help Qatar with security for the World Cup, which runs from 20 November to 18 December.

Qatar has faced intense scrutiny over its human rights record in the run-up to the tournament. Paris and some other French cities have said they will not show matches on giant public screens, as they traditionally do for major sports events.

Former French international Eric Cantona has been among figures in Europe calling for a boycott of the World Cup over Qatar's treatment of foreign workers and denial of rights for women and LGBTQ people.

Faivre told the Al-Kass sports channel that these protests "do not reflect the position of the government".

"France will not boycott the World Cup," he added. According to Faivre, matches will not be screened in French cities because of the "cold temperatures" and the "economic cost" of setting up fan zones.

Thousands of French fans expected

He said there were "preconceived ideas" in France about Qatar and that "more balance is needed".

More than one million people are expected to visit Qatar during the tournament.

(with wires)

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