No more populo World Cup, place at the World Cup for "well-to-do people" and "influencers"

No more populo World Cup, place at the World Cup for “well-to-do people” and “influencers”

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

After a meeting with the Supreme Committee, the organizing committee of the World Cup, Anne Costes swallowed her herbal tea the wrong way when she learned of the pricing and reception conditions in Doha next winter. “I was surprised, I expected, given the pots and pans they have on the question of Human Rights, that they would be impeccable from an organizational point of view. While in fact not at all, there is nothing going, ”regrets the vice-president of the Irresistibles Français, the main group of supporters of the Blues.

A ticketing system that makes you cringe

Far more expensive tickets than four years ago in Russia, too few (and too expensive) accommodations to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of supporters from all over the world and, icing on the cake, an unprecedented ticketing system making upstream organization almost impossible. After having opened a first session of ticket sales for random matches, and therefore intended for a public less concerned on a daily basis by the football thing, the supporters – the real ones, if we dare say – were not able to launch their ticket hunt only last Tuesday.

Problem, with the new draw system put in place by FIFA, supporters will have to wait until May 31 to find out if their reservation has been validated. “It is only from there, once we have our order number, that we will be able to book our accommodation, explains Anne Costes. But on this date, will there still be accommodation available? 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 supporters on the sidelines. tile. Once homestays are booked, the bulk of the troop will then have a choice of rooms on MSC liners or in the overpriced luxury hotels.

Oh, there will also be 5,000 camping places in the middle of the desert, but it’s still light enough to sleep the 1.2 million tourists expected by the organizing committee. “On the site 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 are not going to make them sleep for a month on a poor mattress in a igloo tent! “, chokes the vice-president of the IF. Contacted by 20 Minutes, the FFF believes for its part that “it is premature to speak of support for supporters because there is nothing concrete or act. The Federation is waiting for good information on accommodation. She also works with two agencies who try to make the most interesting rates possible. “We have regular contact with them but they are like us, they don’t have a lot of information and they are carried around a bit”, sympathizes Costes.

Budget up, attendance down

With an entry-level price of 100-150 euros per head of pipe and per night, do 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 at the low word 6,000 euros from under his quilt. That is double what tricolor fans had paid for the World Cup in Russia. And we are only talking about the price for plane tickets, matches and accommodation. “I don’t know if they realize what such sums represent for normal people in quotation marks”, hallucinates Anne Costes.

Responsible for announcing the painful news to its members, the latter said it was “disappointed”. “As much as we, at the IF office, already had a few snippets of information, the bulk of our members discovered everything all at once. We clearly disgusted a lot of people, ”she says helplessly. On arrival, very few historical supporters will be able to afford to make the trip to encourage the Blues.

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

We therefore risk ending up with a more sparse French parking lot than a meeting of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan. We exaggerate (barely). Among the FIs, we even wonder if the organizers are not going to fill in the blanks with locals to whom we would give tricolor flags. “We risk a selection by money. Through the question of housing, the organizers demonstrate the lack of interest given to supporters. The public is the last priority. There is the idea that, whatever we do, we will always find people to go there, ”analyzed Ronan Evain, president of Football Supporters Europe with our colleagues fromWest France.

After the Marseillais in Dubai, here are the influencers in Doha

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

Indeed, to lure what Ronan Evain calls “premium tourism”, the Supreme Committee rolled out the red carpet to influencers around the world to advertise it. Thus, for a week, these new kind of VRPs were invited at the expense of the princess (or here, the 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.

That’s how the Senegalese Jaaw Ketchup, 1.4 million subscribers on Instagram, found himself in Doha with 24 other influencers from all over the world. In exchange for this all-expenses-paid week, “we had to share that with our community so that it gets fully involved in this World Cup,” he explains. If the benefits of such a communication operation are unquantifiable for FIFA and Qatar, they are for Jaaw Ketchup.

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

If he is not an influencer, David was also on the trip after winning his ticket in a fan contest. 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 com’ turnkey. “Everyone uses everyone,” he relativizes. Yes, it suited them that we were there to share what we did. Afterwards, as long as everything is clear… ” Invited to do the same, the Irresistibles Français declined the offer. And Anne Costes concludes: “It was out of the question to do the communication of the World Cup. We want to keep our independence and our freedom of expression on annoying subjects. The thing where you have to say that “Qatar is too great”, no, never. »

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