How the capital views the controversial football festival

With less than a week to go until the World Cup, there is no debate in Berlin about the lineup, the best public viewing spots or the potential of the German team. Instead, around 2022 Human rights, exploitation and safety of queer visitors in Qatar. And it’s about money.

Opinions differ in Berlin’s soccer bars. Do the games have to be broadcast? Vogt’s Bierexpress in Mehringdamm decided to do just that. The owners do not want to justify their decision because “whatever you say will be found wrong”. One thing is clear: the question of income also plays an important role for owners. After Corona and with rising prices, gastronomy depends on additional customers.

I have been displaying the World Cup in my shop since 2006. With first-hand knowledge of this World Cup, you can no longer do so in good conscience.

Lennart Kloehn, owner of Berlin pub “Fargo”.

On the other hand, for Friedrichshain bar owner Lennart Kloehn, everything depends on the principle: there will be no World Cup broadcast in his bar this year. “I have been showing the World Championship in my shop since 2006. These were always events where people gathered, we had fun and celebrated, hugged. With the knowledge of this World Cup, it’s just not possible in good conscience,” says the Fargo owner. Together with 20 other bars in Berlin, he joined the initiative #KeinKatarInMeinerKneipe.

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Part of the initiative is to lure football fans away from the screen with alternative events. At the same time as the world championship games, there will be lectures about human rights situation in Qatar to give

Kloehn’s regular customers support him: “I never expected such a positive response. Even die-hard football fans say they think it’s great,” says Kloehn. With their boycott, the pub operator also wants to send a signal to FIFA: they should change their awarding practices.

Pascal Kaiser sees it too. He is a judge in Prignitz and came out as bisexual this year. “Do FIFA, UEFA, DFB stand for respect, tolerance and acceptance?” All these are things that do not exist in Qatar.” 10 December. he will be the judge for the final of the alternative tournament “Kicken, not watching”, which is also sponsored by culture senator Klaus Lederer (left).

Instead of the rainbow-colored DFB logo on CSD’s Instagram, Kaiser would like a credible gesture “that the DFB does not fly to Qatar and thus sends a clear signal against homophobia, against the human rights situation in Qatar.”

As mayor in charge, I am not calling on the people of Berlin to behave at the World Cup.

Franziska Giffey (SPD)

Berlin’s politics follows a similar direction. “World Cups should not be held in countries where human rights are violated,” it said Berlin’s ruling mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD). And further: “As the presiding mayor, I do not encourage the people of Berlin to behave at the World Cup.” On the one hand, sports senator Iris Spranger (SPD) wishes the German team every success, but emphasizes that “as a politician, senator and woman, she is extremely critical of human rights violations in Qatar.”

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One can also take a critical look at Berlin’s economic relations with the emirate. In 2018, the “Qatar-German Business and Investment Forum” was held in the capital. 900 business representatives from Germany spoke to 300 participants from Qatar at the Kulturforum Maritim Hotel, which is part of the real estate empire of Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al of Qatar. Qatar has invested ten billion euros in its baggage. The opening speech was given by the then ruling mayor, Michael Müller (SPD), who warmly welcomed the Qataris.

27.5 million euros

Goods of this value were exported from Berlin to Qatar in 2021.

Since then, the Red City Hall, which is still led by the SPD, has seen a lot of change in Qatar policy. Upon receiving the request, the Senate states: “There is no partnership or political relationship between the State of Qatar and Berlin.” Economic cooperation between Berlin and Qatari companies is also unknown.

And this does not mean that Berlin does not do business with Qatar. In 2021, 27.5 million worth of goods were exported from Berlin to Qatar. euros, says the Berlin Chamber of Commerce requested. However, Qatar ranks only 63rd among the most important…

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