The unusually rolled-up projector screens at Berlin’s Fargo football bar will be present when Germany’s World Cup campaign in Qatar begins against Japan the following week.
The bar will not even open its doors until an hour after the game is over because it adjusts its regular opening hours to the football schedule.
According to Fargo spokesperson Joschik Pech, “We do not agree that the World Cup should be held in a country where the purpose is sports washing and to make the country look different internationally than it is.
“When we know (it’s a place) where (a person’s) sexuality cannot be lived out freely, we wouldn’t feel good about enjoying the games,” he said.
Fargo is just one of the many bars in the football-obsessed nation of Germany, including a number in the capital city of Berlin, that have pledged to boycott the event.
As it gets ready to host the tournament, Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers, women, and the LGBTQ community has come under scrutiny. Most of the attacks have been fiercely rebuffed by Qatar.
Attacks on the Gulf state, according to the chief World Cup organiser, were launched because it “competed as equals and snatched” the World Cup away from rival bidders.
Several other sites, including Berlin’s well-known “Fan Mile” in front of the Brandenburg Gate, have formally cancelled public viewing events due to worries about the weather, energy costs, and the possibility of COVID infections.
The event has grabbed the attention of members of Germany’s activist football fan culture, with supporters of several well-known teams, including Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Union Berlin, and St. Pauli, calling for boycotts.
Fargo will host many events in parallel to World Cup games to avoid simply ignoring the month-long tournament. These will include human rights lectures and group outings to amateur and women’s football matches.