[Mondial-2022] Neither giant screens nor fan zones in Luxembourg
In line with many European cities, the major Luxembourg cities will not organize public screenings of the World Cup. If most invoke reasons of energy sobriety, the city of Differdange deplores, for its part, the “human and ecological balance sheet”.
Only a few hours before the opening, the World Cup remains under fire from critics. The reasons for this discontent are multiple, ranging from the methods of awarding the competition to the environmental consequences produced by the installations.
The disgraceful working conditions endured by workers have also been the subject of fierce criticism, which intensified after the publication of the number of migrant workers who died in Qatar between 2011 and 2020: 6,500, according to the Guardian.
Naturally, the question of the boycott was invited in this media-political din. If a few personalities have come out of silence to castigate the holding of this World Cup, like Eric Cantonait is ultimately the cities that have most initiated a form of rejection around the world, by refusing to publicly screen the matches.
Berlin, Brussels or even Paris are part of this list of agglomerations which will not install giant screens or fan zones for the competition. Nevertheless, the political boycott remains one reason among dozens: uncertain health situation or energy savings are also justifications brandished by cities for not maintaining public viewing.
In Luxembourg, the question has been decided by almost all the municipalities: “There will be no broadcasting of the World Cup in public places”, agree the cities of Luxembourg, Ettelbruck, Differdange and Esch- sur-Alzette.
“It’s unthinkable to have a heated tent outside”
While most cities have displayed the colors of sobriety, the holding of public broadcasts at this time of year sounds like an “energy aberration”, even a paradox, with regard to the international context.
On July 26, following an agreement between the different states of the European Union concerning a reduction in the demand for natural gas, the government has announced a series of recommendations, addressed in particular to municipalities.
Quickly, the latter communicated a package of measures aimed at drastically reducing the energy consumption of infrastructures and public events: “The City of Luxembourg announced at its press conference on energy saving measures, in September, that “It will not organize public screenings for the World Cup”, recalls Christopher Probst, in charge of public relations at the City.
During the last major football competitions, which traditionally took place during the summer period, the capital organized public viewing on Place Guillaume II and, more recently, on the Champ du Glacis.
In the past, the city of Ettelbruck also had the custom of setting up an outdoor system to allow its inhabitants to follow the World and European Cup finals. Unsurprisingly, the Place de l’Eglise will remain silent this year: “The competition will take place in winter, so we cannot organize a public viewing. It is definitely too cold and the Däichhal, the city hall, is occupied for the end of the year period for staff parties”, informs Nathalie Ney, responsible for communication with the citizen.
The city of Esch-sur-Alzette will, for its part, hold an official bar at the Henri Schmitz Center, without however organizing the screening of the matches, which will totally depend on the sports clubs: “In summer, it’s more festive, it’s It’s another state of mind. But with the winter constraints and the energy crisis, it is unthinkable to install a heated tent outside for a projection, ”explains Luc Schloesser, in charge of public relations at the town hall of Esch-sur-Alzette.
“An ecological and human disaster”
Among the cities questioned, only Differdange addressed the fate of the workers and the sad environmental record of such an organization: “The City will cancel the broadcast of the quarter-finals, the semi-finals and the final for a event which promises to be an ecological and human disaster”, could we read in the minutes of the municipal council, which recorded its decision on October 26.
Open-air air conditioning for single-use stadiums, the “deplorable” working conditions of the workers, the violation of human rights… All these elements are part of the lot of reasons justifying the cancellation of the public viewing in Differdange, which also exhibits the contradiction between the current situation and the holding of this competition.
“We had planned a budget for broadcasting, but we are in the midst of an energy crisis and inflation, while at the same time, we are integrating stadiums with air conditioning, explains Paulo Aguiar, alderman in charge of the sport in the city of Differdange. The initiatives of large cities, especially in France, were also a click. The role of a city is to allow inhabitants to come together around sport, but it is more important to make them aware of what is happening around it. We are not going to accept that there are deaths for a competition.
Insofar as Differdange is a city that breathes football, with many inhabitants aficionados of the round ball, this position may seem thorny. Nevertheless, she is no less assumed: “It’s a political decision, but I think it’s the right one”, discovered Paulo Aguiar.
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