2022 World Cup in Qatar? A very bad idea if we are to believe Toni Kroos, a Real Madrid midfielder who plays the role of master of the German national team. For three reasons, he said in a podcast on March 30: “The first is the unacceptable working conditions in the stadiums (…), then the fact that homosexuality is punishable and punishable in Qatar (…) and finally it is not a football country.” Close the ban.
Such an apparent position taken by an international football star is quite rare. But the German is not alone. A few days earlier, his teammates against Iceland had worn a black jersey in defense of human rights during the pre-match qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup. As such, messages were broadcast by eleven from Norway and the Netherlands.
→ Read. Football: should we boycott the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?
It is clear that the obligations of athletes are multiplying, often for major and sometimes more political reasons, such as the decision in December 2020 by the French international Antoine Griezmann to end a contract with the Chinese brand Huawe in favor of the Muslim minority. . China. In recent months, they have developed a new desire for expression.
Social networks and the “awakening” movement
“Athletes aspire to wider civic participation, especially in the social field, and they demand it in most polls on this subject by the International Olympic Committee or the National Olympic Committee. They are more conservative in political or religious matters. ” Stefan Diagana, world champion in the 400m hurdles in 1997. He takes part in the discussions launched by the Athletes’ Committee of the International Olympic Committee on the possible dilution of rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which restricts the expression of athletes to places or places. at the stadiums.
Why this modern madness which goes beyond the traditional charitable obligations of associations? “The most important change comes from social networks, where they can express themselves on their own initiative and without filteringAdvisor and coach, notes Karen Bloch, member of the scientific committee of the Center for Research on Sport and Citizenship. Their agents or partners also recognized that they sometimes wanted to position themselves on certain subjects. Then there is the question, often from young audiences, who anticipate an attitude of today’s athletes, like the performers of yesterday. “
William Gasparini, sociologist and professor at the Faculty of Sports Sciences at the University of Strasbourg, concludes “The atmosphere has awakened, this awareness of the major problems that come to us from the United States and which are of great concern to young athletes. Winning is no longer enough, you have to express yourself. Most of the time, it is authentic, but it can also be noted that while it is often explored for major environmental causes or the fight against racism, commitments against social inequalities or the excesses of capitalism remain rare. Footballers are not the legion of today to denounce the Premier League. “
Need support for champions
New Lycra Sports Committee Chairperson Rachel Khan kindly notes it “Freedom of expression is always a great thing to promote fundamental rights. But beware of importing a culture from parts of the United States that doesn’t necessarily match our European cosmopolitanism., Emphasizes the author of case law. One can also ask the question of the support of the champions on these questions, in particular on behalf of the sports federations which are often very cautious in this regard. “.
Indeed, the establishments are still impregnated with the traditional culture of the sport which must continue in their course, and are above all concerned with the performance. However, some of the newly elected leaders are promoting a different rhetoric. “Associations can play a role in education and trainingStephan Diagana leads. The challenges of communicating and dealing with a bad reputation are much greater for athletes today than they were yesterday. Maybe we should mark them better on the track for top athletes? For his part, he must also pay attention to the commands to take a position that is starting to appear, especially on social networks. There is a kind of freedom of speech that is also at stake, and there are some punches to be done, especially in the age of polarized discussions. It’s up to the athletes to find the balance. “
“By expressing themselves more, heroes also help to change society’s view of sport. If we are not seen as essential in this health crisis today, it is because we may not be participating enough in the civic debate. The new president of the French Badminton Federation, Johann Bennell, is part of this generation of federal presidents fighting for a community consolidation of sports institutions. In addition, his union’s General Assembly first set goals on April 17. “Social performance” : “The Club van Morgen can act, for example, for isolated people, migrants and the homeless, Confirms. All of this is helping to change the image of sport, and it is clear that top athletes have a role to play in this regard. “