‘Everybody loves it’: the Wales fans who made a Tenerife pub their unofficial fan zone | Spain

Nine hours before the kick-off of a match being played in a desert about 4,000 miles away, the staff at the Wigan Pier, in southern Tenerife, were leaving nothing to chance.

The Wales flags and bunting were up inside and out, the red shirts were on, the chairs were set facing the big screens and 45 barrels of beer were standing by to be drained on Tuesday by the hundreds of Wales supporters who have made the pub their unofficial fan zone for the duration of the World Cup.

To put things in context, the Wigan Pier normally sells 12 barrels of beer. A week. Also, there are typically far, far fewer red dragons.

The pub and its next-door sister establishment, La Flaca, have attracted hundreds of Wales fans since the side qualified for the World Cup in June and a woman called Bethany Evans used social media to half-jokingly float the idea of watching the tournament in Spain rather than the host nation to save money and hassle. Evans’s idea soon went viral and the venue was decided after Kelly Spiers, who owns the Wigan Pier and La Flaca, offered her bars.

“Bethany asked people if they were thinking of going somewhere apart from Qatar because of the expense and the beer costs and the human rights issues,” said Spiers.

Colette Daisley and Kelly Spiers
Colette Daisley (left) and Kelly Spiers at the Wigan Pier pub in Arona, Tenerife. Spiers owns the pub and its next-door sister establishment, La Flaca. Photograph: Sam Jones/The Guardian

“She decided to come here to Tenerife because of the year-round sun. She asked on Facebook if there were any bars that could accommodate 300 people. I’ve got two next to each other so I said yes.”

After that, said Spiers, things escalated somewhat.

“I don’t know where it’s come from. It’s just kept going and it’s been absolutely fantastic. I think people have just jumped on the bandwagon.”

She also said the violence that erupted between England and Wales fans on Friday night in a strip close to the Playa de las Américas has not been replicated at the Wigan Pier, where many families gather to watch the tournament.

“Everybody loves it and there’s been no trouble here,” she said. “We’ve had 600-plus fans in here and there’s been no trouble at all.”

Friday’s scenes, however, led local authorities to increase the police presence ahead of Wales v England on Tuesday.

Arona municipal council said it was working with police to avoid any repetition of last week’s clashes, adding that the authorities would be keeping a close eye on the match and had deployed a special unit in tourist areas.

“Given the events that took place this week, both the Policía Nacional and the local force have coordinated their efforts to prevent possible disturbances in tourist areas of Arona over the next few World Cup matches,” it said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the Policía Nacional said that while he could not comment on how many officers were being deployed, the force was taking the matter very seriously.

“We’re going to be reinforcing the security patrols with officers from the UIP riot squad and there will also be reinforcements from the prevention and reaction unit who will be deployed in the hours leading up to the game and until it finishes,” he said. “They will be controlling the Américas zone and the surrounding areas.”

Asked what the message was to fans, he added: “It’s not up to us to tell fans how to behave – it’s a matter of common sense. People should enjoy the game but also show respect and behave nicely so everyone can enjoy it.”

Some of those gathered at the Wigan Pier were annoyed and frustrated by the violence but said it had involved only a small minority of fans.

Wales fans gathering in Tenerife to watch the World Cup matches.
Wales fans gathering in Tenerife to watch the World Cup matches. Photograph: Nigel Harris/PA

Sharon Thomas, 49, from north Wales, had come to Tenerife with her husband, Steve, and six other family members, including their three-year-old grandson Henry, who lolled in his buggy, looking remarkably relaxed about the evening’s scoreline.

“My husband did think of going to Qatar, but then there’s the cost and the accommodation, so in the end we decided to pay for the family to come here,” said Sharon. “And it’s been wonderful. There have been no problems here.”

Steve, who has followed Wales for decades, said that while he would have loved to have been in Qatar, it wasn’t practical. And besides, he added, “the whole thing’s a bloody farce”.

For Gethin Vaughan, who had come to Tenerife with three friends from north Wales, the decision to head for the Canaries had been made by pockets rather than consciences.

The economics speak for themselves: in the brief period before it was removed from sale at the tournament grounds in Qatar, a beer cost £12. In Tenerife, a pint can be had for €2 (£1.75).

“Qatar was a bit too expensive,” said Thomas as the group walked along the beach towards the Wigan Pier. “And this has been really good. But it would be nice to find a way to stop England floating tonight.”

A night free of violence would also be good, one of his friends suggested: “They need to get a grip. It’s just a game of football.”

As he finished his pint at the Wigan Pier and got ready to take his grandson for a stroll, Steve Thomas mused that while Tenerife was a fine place to watch the football, Fifa could have avoided the whole issue by choosing a different host country.

“I think it’s a shame they placed it where they placed it,” he said. “Can you imagine how many Welsh people would have gone to Australia or the US?”

German football federation to take legal action over Fifa’s OneLove armband ban | Germany

Germany’s football federation has said it plans legal steps against Fifa over its banning of OneLove rainbow armbands at the World Cup as it faced the humiliating decision by one of the country’s largest supermarket chains to cut its commercial ties over the row.

The DFB refused to let players in Qatar wear the armbands promoting diversity and inclusion after threats from the world football governing body to issue yellow cards to team captains, but faced a swift reaction, including from the supermarket chain REWE, which became the first sponsor to take direct action as it said it would drop its advertising campaign in protest at the decision.

The DFB’s spokesperson, Stefan Simon, confirmed to the tabloid Bild that it had lodged a case over legal validity of the decision at the international sport court, CAS, in Lausanne.

“Fifa has forbidden us from using a symbol of diversity and human rights. It said the ban would be linked to massive penalties (in the nature of) sporting sanctions without concretising exactly what it meant. The DFB is keen to clarify whether Fifa’s procedure is in fact legitimate,” he said.

Simon said the DFB hoped to overturn the ban by the time of Germany’s second match against Spain on Sunday, re-establishing its captain Manuel Neuer’s right to wear the OneLove symbol without facing penalties.

REWE in a statement before the DFB announced its legal action said it wanted to unambiguously distance itself from the position taken by Fifa and the statement made by its president, Gianni Infantino, at the weekend where he accused the west of “hypocrisy” in its reporting about Qatar’s human rights record.

Linoel Souque, the chief executive the Cologne-based retail chain, which has annual global sales of €76.5bn (£66bn), said the company could not accept Fifa’s stance. “We stand for diversity and football is diversity. The scandalous behaviour of Fifa is for me as the CEO of a diverse company as well as a football fan absolutely unacceptable,” he said.

The DFB’s decision was made after Fifa threatened sanctions against its participating clubs, including issuing yellow cards to players, if they failed to comply. Germany, England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Wales and Denmark all withdrew their plans to allow their captains to wear the armbands.

DFB’s president, Bernd Neuendorf, said: “In my opinion this is something of a display of power by Fifa. We see this as more than frustrating as well as being an unprecedented event in the history of the World Cup.”

The telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom said on Tuesday it was planning to talk to the DFB, though did not say what action it might be prepared to take. Volkswagen, Adidas, Lufthansa and Commerzbank, the DFB’s other commercial partners, are also under pressure to react.

The row reflects a generally downbeat and often angry mood in Germany towards the tournament being hosted in Qatar. Protests have included street demonstrations and one stadium lighting 20,000 candles at the weekend for Qatar migrant workers who have died, many in the process of building facilities for the World Cup.

Some German pubs and bars are refusing to show the tournament while others have announced they will donate the proceeds of their alcohol sales towards migrant worker charities.

REWE had told the DFB last month that it was not going to extend its years’ long contract with the DFB, but did not mention a connection with the World Cup.

The sticker album currently available at stores as well as the packets of stickers to go in it will be available for free with immediate effect, Souque said. Any money already made from sticker album sales will be donated to an appropriate cause, he added.

Souque said the supermarket nevertheless wished the German team well. “We’re on your side and are rooting for you,” he said.

In surveys, more than half of Germans are in favour of boycotts of the World Cup, by spectators, sponsors and politicians. The majority have said they would not be watching matches on television and there has been much criticism towards the public broadcaster for paying around €200m for the broadcasting rights to show the tournament. Many politicians who had been scheduled to go to Qatar are now not doing so.

The real test of how feelings are among football fans will be Wednesday afternoon’s match between Japan and Germany.

Nancy Faeser, Germany’s interior minister, called the armband ban a “massive mistake” by Fifa. “It breaks the heart of every fan to see how Fifa is also putting the burden of this on to the shoulders of the players,” she said.

Theo Zwanziger, a former DFB president, told Bild: “I’m happy that the DFB is now defending itself against the extraordinary machinations of Fifa president Gianni Infantino and is taking its case to the CAS. Anything else would have only done further damage to the credibility of the DFB,” he said.

Football wars: what the murder of ‘the Uncle’ says about life inside Italy’s ultras | Football

On 29 October, at 19.48, a 69-year-old man was outside his house in Via Zanzottera, in the north-west of Milan. It was just an hour before kick-off in the match between Internazionale and Sampdoria and Vittorio Boiocchi, nicknamed “lo Zio” (“the Uncle”), was going home to watch the game on TV.

Because of his long criminal record, he was banned from being within 2km of the San Siro, the stadium shared by Milan and Inter. Despite that, Boiocchi had been drinking in Baretto, the historical den for Inter ultras, the “Boys San”.

A motorcycle with two people aboard pulled up and five shots were fired from a 9mm gun, hitting Boiocchi in the chest and neck. He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance but died shortly afterwards. During the first half of the match, the news spread quickly across the terraces. The Inter ultras (the hardcore fans) removed their striscioni, their long banners, and fell silent. At half time, they forced every fan in their section to leave the stadium, a sign of respect for their fallen leader.

At the time of his death, Boiocchi had spent more than a third of his life, just over 26 years, in prison. His criminal career had begun with hold-ups in banks and supermarkets before graduating to wholesale cocaine dealing. Over the years, he had been convicted for international drug trafficking, criminal conspiracy, possession of, and illegal carrying of, weapons, robbery, kidnapping and theft. He had contacts in the Sicilian, Calabrian and Puglian mafias.

Vittorio Boiocchi, left, with Franchino Caravita. Boiocchi was murdered on 29 November.
Vittorio Boiocchi, left, with Franchino Caravita. Boiocchi was murdered on 29 November. Photograph: @lacittanews/Twitter

His last arrest was in March 2021 when – with lockdowns having dented his match income – he was intercepted by police as he was about to kidnap a Milanese businessman. When stopped, he was at the wheel of a stolen car which contained handcuffs, a taser and a Guardia di Finanza bib.

The murder of lo Zio wasn’t the first professional hit on a capo-ultrà. In August 2019, Fabrizio Piscitelli, known as Diabolik, was murdered with a single shot to his temple as he sat in a park in Rome. Diabolik was the boss of the Irriducibili, the undisputed top dogs of the Lazio terraces. He, too, had been involved in large drug deals and was attempting to carve out a space for himself in the crowded Roman underworld.

In July 2016, Ciccio Bucci, a shunned former boss of the dominant Juventus ultras, the Drughi (an Italianisation of the Droogs of A Clockwork Orange fame) was either murdered or committed suicide from a high viaduct connecting Turin to Cuneo. He had been an informant for the secret services, revealing to them the infiltration of far-right extremists and the ’Ndrangheta, the Calabrian mafia, into the Juventus terraces.

So Boiocchi’s murder has once again turned the spotlight on to the ultra world and its overlap with organised crime. In one recent wiretap, he had boasted about making €80,000 a month. He may have been gilding the lily, but it’s certain that he made vast sums through ticket touting (upping the price on tickets given free, or discounted, by the Inter management to their ultras) and by extorting a cut on the parking fees and burger-van profits from around the stadium.

Since release from his last stint in prison, in 2019, Boiocchi had caused ructions on the Inter terraces by attempting to assert his leadership. His release coincided with a period of intense difficulty for the Inter ultras: they had been under media and investigative spotlights following the death of Daniele Belardinelli, or “Dede”, when the Inter ultras had ambushed their Neapolitan rivals in December 2018. (Belardinelli wasn’t even an Inter ultra, but a member of a Nazi ultra gang from Varese that was allied with Inter’s Boys.)

Policeman Filippo Raciti was killed during clashes after the Sicilian soccer derby between Catania and Palermo in February 2007.
Policeman Filippo Raciti was killed during clashes after the Sicilian soccer derby between Catania and Palermo in February 2007. Photograph: Franco Lannino/EPA

Boiocchi’s reappearance had created tensions and there were violent clashes with another Inter capo-ultrà, Franchino Caravita, during which Boiocchi suffered a heart attack. Many of the younger ultras were enraged by the greed of the Uncle. He was once alleged to have complained: “How is it possible that we control the whole terraces and we eat so little?”

The ultras – a mix of punks, Hells Angels, hooligans and hoods – have been an intractable problem for Italian authorities and football clubs for many decades. In the 2000s, a confrontational approach created bloodshed on both sides, with a policeman, Filippo Raciti, killed in clashes in Catania in February 2007, and a Lazio fan, Gabriele Sandri, shot by a policeman as he left a motorway service station in November of the same year. Dozens of other ultras and policemen, or carabinieri, have been wounded and maimed.

Tensions were sometimes so high that games were abandoned altogether, as with the famous Rome derby known as the “Derby of the Dead Baby” (the death of a baby was a rumour which turned out to be false). The hated tessera del tifoso (an obligatory registration card issued by each club) threw fuel on the fire: it divided almost every ultra group, creating ill will in the movement between those who “sold out” and registered and those who “held out” and therefore could no longer go to games.

The alternative to collusion and accommodation, however, has been equally problematic. Because the ultras of big clubs are counted in the thousands, their power is very large: they can decide to vote en masse for a particular politician, call fan strikes, veto newspapers, force players to be sold and blackmail clubs by threatening to chant racist songs so that the clubs are fined.

Many presidents and politicians conclude that it’s better to have these powerful groups on side than set against them: Matteo Salvini, leader of the rightwing League party, publicly embraced Luca Lucci, a Milan capo-ultrà who has also been convicted of major drug dealing, on the San Siro grass in 2018. However murky, the terraces can make or break a political career.

Counting on the support of their erstwhile colleagues, various ultras even enter parliament, like Daniele Belotti, a Leghista from Atalanta (Bergamo). In 2018, he received the highest votes (105,000) of any deputy in the Italian parliament.

The clubs often have little choice but to indulge the ultras. Attendances in Serie A are the lowest in Europe’s top five leagues (in the 2021-22 season, it saw an average attendance of 18,235, compared to the Premier League’s 39,632). In Serie B and Serie C, the figures are far lower (there were under 3,000 spectators in one Serie B game this season). So presidents will often do whatever is necessary to avoid a fans’ strike: gifting dozens of free tickets to ultra groups and allowing them to operate the burger and parking concessions. In the biggest clubs (where there’s ample evidence of ultras receiving hundreds of tickets), touting can make a capo-ultrà €10-20,000 in a single afternoon.

That easy money has solidified the overlap between the ultras and organised crime. Compared to drug-dealing, touting carries minimal risks and negligible legal sanction, so many mafias have muscled their way in. The ultras, meanwhile, have often gone the other way, moving into drug slinging by acting as couriers, distributors and retailers for the well-known mafias from Sicily and Calabria. The professional nature of the hit on Boiocchi suggests that, like Piscitelli, he had somehow offended a mafia contact.

What’s intriguing is how much the ultra subculture has mutated from its genesis in the late 1960s. Back then, almost all the groups were, politically, from the far left, borrowing names from partisan groups and from leftwing insurgencies across the world. The charismatic leaders were mostly just teenage tearaways and the terraces were an inclusive carnival of many colours and choruses.

Now, however, almost all groups are from the far right. The leaders are, like Boiocchi, often of retirement age. Spontaneity is rare as uniformity is imposed: many groups dress identically, usually in black.

Police investigate near the scene where Vittorio Boiocchi was shot and killed in Milan.
Police investigate near the scene where Vittorio Boiocchi was shot and killed in Milan. Photograph: Claudio Furlan/AP

One of the leading names of Verona’s notorious Brigate Gialloblù, Marco Zanoni, once said that ultras are, ultimately, idealists: “And we know that an idealist can, in certain circumstances, become a tough, even an extremist.” Their language is eerily similar to that of religious believers – they talk of “faith”, “sacrifice”, “martyrs” and how the dead are “always present”.

And, as with organised religion, organised ultras can be a significant force for good as well as bad. After the Amatrice earthquake in 2016, the mayor said ultras from all over Italy had done more for his town than all the country’s politicians and thanked them for their “extraordinary solidarity”. Every time there is a natural disaster, ultras are always in the front line. They often open food banks for the poor, and throughout the Covid pandemic were regularly distributing food parcels.

It remains a very paradoxical subculture, both criminal and altruistic, very arrogant and yet surprisingly humble. But the death of “the Uncle” means that ultras will continue to be known for all the wrong reasons.

Tobias Jones lives in Parma. His prize-winning book Ultra: the Underworld of Italian Football is published by Head of Zeus

Ireland grapples with singing of pro-IRA chant | Ireland

A chant with five syllables, dating from the 1980s, has roared back to divide Ireland, anger British politicians and subvert history: ooh, ah, up the ’Ra.

The chorus of Celtic Symphony, a song by the folk group the Wolfe Tones, celebrates the IRA with a catchy, upbeat rhythm. For years it has been belted out in pubs and sporting clubs across Ireland, but usually in semi-private, away from the limelight.

That changed on 11 October when members of the Ireland women’s football team were filmed singing it in their changing room as they exulted qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.

The footage went viral and triggered a row about glorifying the IRA’s campaign during the Troubles that has left Ireland grappling with fraught questions about national identity, pride and history.

The controversy swelled when Celtic Symphony topped Ireland’s iTunes charts and people were filmed chanting the chorus at a Dublin airport pub.

Northern Ireland’s unionist leaders asked the taoiseach, Micheál Martin, to use his influence to curb the practice, calling it an affront to those injured and bereaved by the IRA. John Baron, a Conservative MP, told the House of Commons it marked a “low point” in relations between the UK and Ireland.

The Football Association of Ireland and the women’s team have expressed shame and apologised, but that has only fuelled debate in Ireland, where many defend the chant as a legitimate expression of national pride by a generation that has reclaimed and refashioned traditional republican tropes.

“They get used so regularly as to be rendered cliche, they are performative tropes with the original malevolent meaning stripped out,” said Paddy Hoey, a lecturer in media, culture and communications at Liverpool John Moores University. He compared the “Ra” chant to England fans singing Ten German Bombers or Two World Wars and One World Cup.

Irish people in their 20s carry no baggage from the Troubles, said Hoey. “In the post-peace process era there is a level of playfulness, the naughty schoolchild, attached to singing these songs. There’s a certain degree of depthlessness or ironic banter.”

Criticism tends to backfire, added Hoey. “It’s the Streisand effect. The more you draw attention to this kind of stuff and try to police what people have to say, the greater chance of it rebounding.”

The phenomenon coincides with the ascendance of Sinn Féin. Once an IRA mouthpiece with fringe support, it is now Ireland’s most popular party and appears poised to lead the next government.

A recent poll put combined support for Sinn Féin and smaller leftwing parties among people aged 18-34 at 73%. The party’s promise to fix a housing crisis and redistribute wealth has driven the surge, but many supporters also adopt the party’s defence of the IRA campaign. “As Sinn Féin grows, past violence is retrospectively endorsed,” one commentator, Newton Emerson, wrote in the Irish Times.

Opinion in Northern Ireland, where Sinn Féin has become the largest party, has shifted: in a recent poll, 69% of nationalist voters agreed with the party that there was “no alternative” to violent resistance during the Troubles – a reversal from 1998 when 70% of Catholics rejected republican justifications for violence.

Eunan O’Halpin, a Trinity College Dublin history professor, said ostensibly pro-IRA chants reflected partly a desire to “wind up older generations” and partly Sinn Féin’s success at framing the Troubles through the lens of the 1981 hunger strikes, security force killings and state collusion with loyalist paramilitaries. “The recital moves seamlessly from one pile of bodies killed by British forces to another pile killed by British forces.”

The Sky News presenter Rob Wotton prompted widespread indignation when he asked an Ireland player if the row over the team’s chant highlighted a need for education. Commentators called the question patronising and hypocritical given British ignorance about Ireland.

O’Halpin, however, said some secondary school history texts hopscotched through the Troubles, which claimed 3,700 lives between 1969 and 1998, and underplayed the fact that the IRA and other republican groups were responsible for 60% of killings, with loyalist paramilitaries being responsible for 30% and British security forces 10%.

Making History, a standard text, illustrates those statistics in a pie chart and notes that the IRA killed “many civilians”, but its 21-page chapter on the Troubles gives scant detail about bombings and shootings, focusing instead on internment, Bloody Sunday, hunger strikes and political developments.

The Guardian interviewed 12 randomly selected Trinity undergraduates about the Troubles. Asked to estimate the total death toll, most declined, saying they had no idea. Those who did guess gave answers ranging from 50 to 20,000. One correctly said the figure was between 3,000 and 4,000.

Estimates of the IRA’s proportion of killings ranged from 10% to 60%, with several correctly guessing it was around half. However, they assumed security forces, rather than loyalist paramilitaries, accounted for most of the rest.

Most defended the “Ra” chant. “I think it’s harmless. It has come to mean an Irish victory against the odds, an underdog mentality,” said Allanah Ryan, 19, a law and history student. “It’s like a joke, a school chant insulting the other team.”

Lucy Murray, 21, said the chant expressed pride, not malice. “It’s not derogatory. It’s not anything anyone takes seriously.”

Three of the 12 said the chant was inappropriate even if used to celebrate Irish nationalism, not the IRA. Ciara McNamee, 21, said the Sky reporter’s question was infuriating, coming from an English person, but justified. “Many Irish people don’t really know about the Troubles, they don’t know how terrible it was.”

Paris joins other French cities in World Cup TV boycott | Paris

Paris has joined several French cities in announcing they will not show World Cup matches in public places or set up “fan zones” in protest at human rights and environmental abuses in the host nation, Qatar.

The moves to boycott the competition next month come after what has been described as a “last minute crisis of conscience” by the public authorities.

Local authorities in Marseille, Lille, Bordeaux, Reims, Nancy, Rodez and the capital have announced they will not install giant television screens as in the past to relay matches.

“This competition has gradually turned into a human and environmental disaster, incompatible with the values we want to see conveyed through sport and especially football,” Benoît Payan, the mayor of Marseille and head of a leftwing and environmentalist coalition, said in a statement.

In Lille, the city council unanimously voted not to broadcast World Cup matches. The city’s Socialist mayor, Martine Aubry, said holding the competition in Qatar was “a nonsense in terms of human rights, the environment and sport”.

In Paris, Pierre Rabadan, a former French rugby international and the deputy in charge of sport at city hall, said there was “no question” of installing fan zones. This is despite the city’s football team, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), being owned by Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar since 2011.

Strasbourg has also decided not to screen the World Cup. “It is impossible for us not to listen to the numerous alerts from NGOs denouncing the abuse and exploitation of immigrant workers. Thousands of foreign workers have died on the building sites, it’s unbearable,” the city’s ecologist mayor, Jeanne Barseghian, told 20 Minutes.

”Strasbourg, the European capital and seat of the European court of human rights, cannot decently condone these abuses, cannot turn a blind eye when human rights are being flouted in this way,” she added.

Pierre Hurmic, the ecologist mayor of Bordeaux, said screening the World Cup and setting up fan zones would make the city an “accomplice to this sporting event which represents all the humanitarian, ecological and sporting aberrations”.

Eric Cantona, the former French international and Manchester United footballer, is also boycotting the World Cup.

“I will not watch a single match of this World Cup. This will cost me because since I was a kid it’s been an event that I love, that I look forward to and that I watch with passion. But let’s be honest with ourselves. This World Cup makes no sense. The only meaning of this event, as we all know, is money,” he wrote.

In a communique at the end of last month, the French Football Federation responded to criticism of its “deafening silence” over the forced labour and deaths of migrant workers at World Cup sites. It said the “campaign of stigmatisation” of Qatar was to be “deplored” and that it had defended “human rights and other essential causes on a daily basis”.

“Taking part in the World Cup doesn’t mean closing one’s eyes and supporting (abuse),” it wrote. The FFF claimed to have “implemented various verification measures concerning the respect of social rights and the application of respectful working conditions at the French team’s base camp” in Qatar.

The FFF believes the World Cup has brought progress to Qatar. “Even if the reality on the ground is not perfect, this progress is undeniable and positive,” it said.

Laurent Bodin, an opinion writer for L’Alsace newspaper, wrote: “The call to boycott is legitimate … but it’s a bit late.”

He added: “Such behaviour cannot be selective. Those calling for screens to be turned off during the World Cup should stop following the news of Paris Saint-Germain, which is financed by Qatar, and many other clubs for which the state-owned airline, Qatar Airways, is a major sponsor.

“The damage is done because the competition will take place.”