The President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron came to the aid of the Blues and, indirectly, of the World Cup in Qatar by affirming that “Do not politicize sport” . If we easily identify the opportunism of such a balanced statement a few days before the start of the competition, so often heard to cover everything and anything, it deserves to be answered once and for all.
You have to be precise, first of all. The words of Emmanuel Macron, our national Saturn, cast a wider net than the punch line which was extracted. But there is also no doubt that the Head of State knew which part of his speech would be the most taken up and commented on, especially on social networks: “I think we shouldn’t politicize sport. These questions must be asked when attributing the event. » There are two almost contradictory statements in the two presidential sentences. The first part takes up the old antiphon of the apoliticism of sport, which maintains the illusion of a pure space and only dedicated to the game or matches, to be absolutely preserved. Everyone senses that apoliticalism is right-wing, since it comes down to accepting the state of the world as it is and the balance of power that prevails there. The second part, on the contrary, supposes that the designation of a country requires vigilance. Only, on what criteria other than political should this type of preliminary questioning be exercised? Above all, since when do you have to accept the worst on the pretext that it was decided ages ago?
The hypocrisy of President Macron
The President of the Republic knows perfectly well that sport is political and that it must be politicized so that it finds its full place in society. Otherwise, why would there be a Ministry of Sports in his government (and of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) which he entrusted to a relative, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, met on the benches of the ENA where the elite is trained of Marianne. In fact, who politicizes sport? To start, Emmanuel Macron in person when he calls Kylian Mbappé to stay at PSG. Or when he exults alongside Vladimir Poutine in 2018 before capturing the Blues to celebrate the second tricolor world title at the Élysée, depriving his fellow citizens of popular communion. He has never ceased to include sport in his storytelling politics, from his love of OM, so well staged, to his commitment to transforming France into a “sporting nation” on the occasion of Paris 2024. There are public sports policies, precisely because sport is political.
Who politicizes sport if not the Blues when, in a letter announcing their desire to financially support NGOs working with migrants, they summon the Republican motto “Liberty Equality Fraternity” to justify their belated awareness. Blues so often summoned to embody an example, for example in the field of integration, which is not politically neutral. If the World Cup in Qatar finds itself at this point at the heart of political issues (human rights, LGBT, ecology, etc.), the first fault lies with Qatar, which has always sought to instrumentalise sport in the service of its soft-power. The desire on the part of the emirate to regiment the World Cup in order to establish its power and its role in the concert of nations inevitably politicized the round ball. So please stop blaming football lovers for not being fooled anymore. Football is political, and that’s what makes all the interest and passion it arouses.
By Nicolas Kssis-Martov