La Maison du peuple, one of the largest cafés in Brussels, on the forecourt of Saint-Gilles, has decided: while it has room to accommodate several coaches of supporters, especially since the terrace is as wide as a football field, the café will not broadcast any World Cup matches. “We are sitting on a big recipe, but we couldn’t have looked in the mirror.” Colleagues will do the opposite because they don’t have “ no choice”.
Thomas Kok, one of the patrons of the Saint-Gilloise institution, explains: “I don’t want to rank the reasons on a scale of horror. First, we will play football on bones, in a cemetery: the construction of stadiums has cost lives, in a country that tramples the rights of women, men, LGBTQIA. +. Then there is the idea of a World Cup in winter, in the desert, where the stadiums have to be cooled. At the time of ecocide, at a time when the people of Brussels do not know how to pay the bill for the energy crisis, it is obscene. Finally, there are the corruption scandals around Fifa, which we know is not a philanthropic enterprise.”
The conclusion for a Horeca operator like you is therefore inevitable?
“The combination of these circumstances meant that we could no longer see each other in a mirror while broadcasting the games. We should not be partying around this football: we are not there.”
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“We will have a deficit, it is obvious. During the competition month we could count on 50 to 60% more turnover. Especially since it is basically a month without a terrace. We would have blown our statistics. We decide to sit on it .”
Does the decision apply to all bars on the team at the head of the Maison du peuple?
“Yes. My other addresses, Chez Franz, Chez Richard and Tortue, are obviously less well-known for their broadcast of matches. But the same goes for Caberdouche, in the Pentagon, run by my colleagues: no football.”
And the colleagues?
“I know that the idea of following the boycott is taking shape among some of them. But not all of them, and I understand that. Some want to show football without playing politics. That’s normal.”
What about the future?
“We broadcast matches before Qatar. We still need to position ourselves for the Euro 2024 in Germany. The question does not arise with regard to other competitions, such as Union matches, which we have never offered. But personally, I find it more logical to broadcast the Union: they still convey certain values, although we are not fooled. Football is inseparable from business. We are also not going to play the radicals and not broadcast than the ABSSA matches. But in 2022, educate yourself: promoting a circus like the planned in Qatar is cynical. We don’t want to leave that world to our children.”