No more populo World Cup, space for World Cup for “affluent people” and “influencers”

In his costume dressed for nine, the great raïs of world football promised us during the draw: the World Cup in Qatar will be “the most beautiful world championship in history”, or it will not be. The day before, his great friend Noël Le Graët said in an interview with AFP that he was “very happy to play in Qatar”. But when talking to followers, it’s not the same music at all.

After a meeting with the top committee, the World Cup organizing committee, Anne Costes swallowed her herbal tea in the wrong way when she heard about the award and reception conditions in Doha next winter. “I was surprised, I expected, given the pots and pans they have on the issue of human rights, that they would be impeccable from an organizational point of view. Although in fact nothing is going on at all,” laments the vice president of Irresistibles Français, the main group of followers of the Blues.

A ticket system that makes you cringe

Far more expensive tickets than four years ago in Russia, too few (and too expensive) accommodations to accommodate hundreds of thousands of followers from around the world, and the icing on the cake, an unprecedented ticketing system that makes upstream organization almost impossible. After opening a first session with ticket sales for random matches, and therefore intended for a public that was not daily worried about the football thing, the supporters – the right ones, if we dare say – were not able to start their ticket hunt only last Tuesday .

Problem, with the new lottery system introduced by FIFA, supporters will have to wait until May 31st to find out if their reservation has been approved. “It is only from there, when we have our order number, that we can book our home,” Anne Costes explains. But will there still be accommodation available on this date? And if so, at what price? “.

The whole problem is there. While it is currently possible to find (spartan) accommodation at more or less affordable prices, it risks being taken by storm by those who have benefited from the sale to the general public, leaving traditional followers on the sidelines. Once homestays are booked, the majority of the squad will have a choice of rooms on MSC liners or at the overpriced luxury hotels.

Oh, there will also be 5,000 campsites in the middle of the desert, but it’s still easy enough to sleep the 1.2 million tourists the organizing committee expects. “On the spot there is just a photo of a tent placed on a dune in the desert … We have members who are 60, 70 years old, we will not get them to sleep for a month on a bad mattress in an igloo tent! “, It suffocates the vice-president of IF. Contacted by 20 minutes, FFF for its part believes that” it is too early to talk about support for supporters because there is nothing concrete or action. The association is waiting for good information about accommodation. She also works with two agencies trying to make the most interesting prices possible. “We have regular contact with them, but they are like us, they do not have much information and they are carried around a bit,” Costes sympathizes.

Budget up, attendance down

With an entry-level price of 100-150 euros per. pipe head and per. night, does the math for a supporter who has decided to follow his team to the end … If the Blues went to the final, a Frenchman would have to come out with the low word 6,000 euros under his duvet. That’s double what tricolor fans had paid for the World Cup in Russia. And we are only talking about the price of airline tickets, matches and accommodation. “I do not know if they are aware of what such sums represent for normal people in quotation marks,” Anne Costes hallucinates.

The latter, who is responsible for announcing the painful news to its members, said it was “disappointed”. “As much as we at the IF office already had a few snippets of information, the majority of our members discovered everything at once. We obviously disgusted a lot of people, she says helplessly. Upon arrival, very few historic followers will be able to afford to take the tour to encourage the blues.

“We were 600 IF in Russia,” she continues. If there are 50-100 this year, it will already be a lot. To give you an example, nine of the fourteen people who make up the association’s office went to Russia. Today there is only one … “

We therefore risk ending up with a more sparse French car park than a meeting with Nicolas Dupont-Aignan. We exaggerate (hardly). Among the FIs, we even wonder if the organizers did not intend to fill in the blanks with rooms that we would give three-colored flags. “We risk a selection with money. Through the issue of housing, the organizers demonstrate the lack of interest in supporters. The public is the last priority. There is the idea that no matter what we do, we will always find people to go there, ”analyzed Ronan Evain, President of Football Supporters Europe with our colleagues fromWestern France.

After Marseillais in Dubai, here are the influences in Doha

From the top of its ivory tower, FIFA is not fooled. She quickly understood that it was necessary to address a different audience than what is traditionally seen at a World Cup, if she would not end up with empty stadiums in mondovision. On France Info, Fabian Tosolini, another IF, summed up the thinking of the thinking heads as follows: “It’s a world of the rich, of Tik Tok and Instagram influencers”.

In fact, to entice what Ronan Evain calls “premium tourism,” the top committee rolled out the red carpet to influencers around the world to promote it. For a week, these new kinds of VRPs were thus invited at the expense of the princess (or here, Emir Al Thani) to discover all that Qatar had to offer. On the menu: stadium visits, museums, quad biking in the desert, photo shoots and social events.

This is how Senegalese Jaaw Ketchup, 1.4 million subscribers to Instagram, found himself in Doha along with 24 other influencers from around the world. In return for this week, paid for all expenses, “we had to share it with our community so it gets fully involved in this World Cup,” he explains. If the benefits of such a communication operation are not quantifiable for FIFA and Qatar, they are for Jaaw Ketchup.

“We got to know the other influencers, it gave us the opportunity to win over other audiences from different countries. In my audience, 77% come from Senegal, 5% France, 4% Italy … And it increased with my participation in this draw. There was a greater return than usual, it was seen in the statistics. »

If he is not an influencer, David was also on the tour after winning his ticket in a fan competition. If he assures that there was “no obligation to create content, just an incentive”, this member of the Qatar Fan Leader Network, created by the supreme committee, is aware of having participated in a turnkey com ‘. “Everyone uses everyone,” he relativizes. Yes, it suited them that we were there to share what we were doing. Afterwards, as long as everything is clear… “Encouraged to do the same, Irresistibles Français declined the offer. And Anne Costes concludes: “It was out of the question to be in charge of the communication of the World Cup. We want to preserve our independence and our freedom of speech on annoying topics. That where one has to say that “Qatar is too amazing”, no, never. »

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