PARIS: Paris will not broadcast World Cup matches on giant screens in public fan zones amid concerns over rights violations of migrant workers and the environmental impact of the tournament in Qatar.
It follows similar moves by other French cities, despite France going in as the defending champion. Some other European teams or federations are also looking at ways to protest.
Pierre Rabadan, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of sports, told reporters in the French capital that the decision against public broadcasting of matches is due to “the conditions of the organization of this World Cup, both on the environmental and social level.”
He said in an interview with France Blue Paris that “air-conditioned stadiums” and the “conditions in which these facilities have been built are to be questioned.”
Rabadan stressed that Paris is not boycotting the soccer tournament, but explained that Qatar’s “model of staging big events goes against what (Paris, the host of the 2024 Olympics) wants to organize.”
The move comes despite the city’s football club, Paris Saint-Germain, being owned by Qatar Sports Investments.
“We have very constructive relations with the club and its entourage yet it doesn’t prevent us to say when we disagree,” Rabadan said.
Denmark is staging its own protest: Its team jerseys at the World Cup will include a black option to honor migrant workers who died during construction work for the tournament. And several European soccer federations want their captains to wear an armband with a rainbow heart design during World Cup games to campaign against discrimination.
A growing number of French cities are refusing to erect screens to broadcast World Cup matches to protest Qatar’s human rights record.
The mayor of Strasbourg, the seat of the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights, cited allegations of human rights abuses and exploitation of migrant workers in Qatar as the reason for canceling public broadcasts of the World Cup.
“It’s impossible for us to ignore the many warnings of abuse and exploitation of migrant workers by non-governmental organizations,” Jeanne Barseghian said in a statement. “We cannot condone these abuses, we cannot turn a blind eye when human rights are violated.”
And then, there’s the impact on the environment, Barseghian said.
“While climate change is a palpable reality, with fires and droughts and other disaster, organizing a soccer tournament in the desert defies common sense and amounts to an ecological disaster,” she said.
Arnaud Deslandes, a deputy mayor of Lille, said that by canceling public viewing of matches, the northern city wanted to send a message to FIFA about the irreparable damage of the Qatar tournament to the environment.
“We want to show FIFA that money is not everything,” Deslandes told The Associated Press in an interview.
As for residents’ reactions to the city’s decision, he added: “I have yet to meet a person in Lille who was disappointed by our decision.”
The gas-rich emirate has been fiercely criticized in the past decade for its treatment of migrant workers, mostly from south Asia, who were needed to build tens of billions of dollars’ worth of stadiums, metro lines, roads and hotels.
Qatar has been equally fierce in denying accusations of human rights abuses, and has repeatedly rejected allegations that the safety and health of 30,000 workers who built the World Cup infrastructure have been jeopardized.
Qatar has also said that it is mindful of environmental concerns and has committed to offsetting some of the carbon emissions from the World Cup events through creating new green spaces irrigated with recycled water and building alternative energy projects.
Environmental activists across France have supported the cancelation of public broadcasting in fan zones because outdoor viewing of the Nov. 20-Dec. 19 tournament would use energy that the country has been storing for winter.
MEXICO CITY: Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed a record 14th victory of the Formula One season by winning the Mexico Grand Prix on Sunday.
World champion Verstappen finished a comfortable 15.186 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes while Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez finished third on home soil.
It was the second win inside a week for Dutchman Verstappen, who also triumped at the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
Verstappen has now beaten the record previously held by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel for the most wins in a single season.
“It has been an incredible year so far, we are definitely enjoying it and we’ll try to go for more (victories),” said Verstappen.
Hamilton lamented his team’s decision to choose medium and then hard tire compounds while Verstappen went from softs to medium.
“I was close in the first stint, but the Red Bulls were too fast today and they probably had the right tire strategy,” Hamilton said.
Perez was cheered loudly by a sell-out crowd.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t work out today, but it is great to get third place here and be on the podium,” Perez said.
George Russell finished a frustrated fourth for Mercedes, but clocked the fastest lap ahead of the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, both unable to find the pace to make any impact on the leading quartet.
Daniel Ricciardo was seventh for McLaren, after a mid-race collision for which he was given a 10-second time penalty, ahead of Esteban Ocon of Alpine, Lando Norris in the second McLaren and Valtteri Bottas of Alfa Romeo.
As the lights went out, Verstappen made a near-perfect start from pole position while, behind him, Hamilton fought his way past Russell to take second.
To the delight of his fans, Perez also passed Russell to take third.
After lap one, the Dutchman held a lead of 1.39 seconds which he gently extended to 1.6 by lap 10 and 2.2 by lap 20 as the leaders ran in consistent formation, the race only punctuated by Stroll taking the first pit stop on lap 18.
Verstappen reported his soft tires were deteriorating shortly before Perez came in after 23 laps to switch from soft to medium compounds, but his stop was hampered by a sticky rear wheel change and took five seconds.
He re-joined sixth.
Two laps later, Verstappen came in and out in 2.5 seconds, passing the lead to Hamilton, who was 5.5 seconds clear of Russell as the Dutchman re-joined third behind him.
Hamilton came in on lap 30 to switch to hards and re-joined third, Russell taking over as leader until lap 35, when he also pitted to take hard tires. He came back in fourth and the leading group were back as they had been.
“This tire is not as good as the medium,” Hamilton said on team radio, prompting Mercedes to reply suggesting it would last longer than the medium, as taken by Red Bull.
Hamilton, however, was struggling for grip and impatient as he slipped 9.5 seconds adrift of the champion with Perez, third and pressing, only 1.9 seconds behind.
By lap 40, both Mercedes men were grumbling in unison about the hard tyre’s lack of performance.
Verstappen extended his lead to more than 10 seconds by lap 50, but Hamilton clung on.
“Are we on the wrong tyre?” Hamilton asked his team. “No, Lewis, we think we’re on the right tire and it’ll get to the end. No sweat,” replied his race engineer, Pete Bonnington.
With six laps to go, Mercedes’ hard tire gamble appeared to have failed when two-time champion Fernando Alonso pulled off at turn one in his Alpine.
It was a brief pause without any pitstops, leaving Russell frustrated in his requests for new rubber.
“Stay out,” said Mercedes, only relenting on lap 70 to give him a chance to go for fastest lap
Red Bull have already claimed the constructors’ championship.
Ferrari blames altitude
Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz blamed Mexico’s high altitude for their lack of speed and competitive performance in Sunday’s Mexico Grand Prix.
Sainz was fifth and Leclerc sixth, their worst two-car finish this year, as they were well-beaten by both Red Bull and Mercedes with world champion Max Verstappen winning ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez.
George Russell was fourth in the second Mercedes ahead of Sainz, who came home 58 seconds adrift of victorious Verstappen.
“Going into the weekend with this car, at this altitude, we knew we were going to lose quite a bit of performance,” said Sainz, acknowledging that the team’s aerodynamic and engine performance had suffered.
Mexico City is more than 2,000 meters above sea level and the rarefied atmosphere has an effect on turbos, cooling systems and brakes as well as delivering less air resistance.
Like many teams, they had to turn down their engines to preserve them and ensure reliability, but they hope to return to full power in Sao Paulo next month.
“Today, I felt like an explanation was that it was a bit of a one-off here in the different conditions and I hope we can come back to our usual performance in Brazil,” Leclerc said.
“I felt like we maximized absolutely everything and even though we did that we are still one minute away from Max, which is a huge difference.
“So we have to look at making our bad days better because when we have a bad day, especially on a Sunday, it is a really bad day.”
After enforced retirements in Japan and the United States, Sainz was at least happy to complete the race.
“We were a minute away, but I haven’t finished a race in a month so it was nice to actually do that,” he said.
DORAL, Florida: American Dustin Johnson’s 4 Aces squad won the inaugural LIV Golf Series team championship at Trump National on Sunday to claim the $16 million top prize.
Johnson, who earned a reported $150 million by signing up to the Saudi-backed venture, pockets another $4 million as his share of the team prize money to add to the rewards he gained through winning the debut season’s individual title.
Between team prizes throughout the season and individual event wins, plus his $18 million bonus for claiming the year’s individual crown, Johnson ends the inaugural LIV campaign with an eye-watering $35 million in earnings.
“Personally, my season, yeah, you add up the numbers and it was great, but I played good — I didn’t play my best, so it always could be better, but that’s golf,” Johnson said.
“But I’m just happy that the 4 Aces just won this tournament. That’s all that matters,” he said after shooting a two under-par 70 on the Doral Blue Monster course.
Johnson’s all-American team — featuring Talor Gooch, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez — shot a combined 7-under 281, winning by a shot over Cameron Smith’s all-Australian Punch GC.
British Open champion Smith shot a superb 65 and jousted with Johnson until the death.
The winning team were sprayed by champagne on the final green on a day in which $34 million in prize money was distributed to the four teams in the final.
While the celebrations were genuine and the team format certainly generated enthusiasm from players and attracted a decent crowd to the South Florida course owned by former US President Donald Trump, the first LIV season has caused division within golf that shows no signs of ending.
Reports suggest LIV Golf is looking to add more top players to its lineup ahead of an expanded 14-event second season.
Johnson said LIV will go from strength to strength.
“Just look at what happened today,” he said. “Obviously, yeah, it was a team effort, but coming down the 18th hole, it ended up coming down to me and Cam playing the 18th hole to see who wins the team championship.
“You couldn’t have drawn it up any better, but I think that’s what LIV is. Look at all the fans. Look how much fun they have. I think this season went incredible and I think next season is going to be even better.”
With legal cases heading to courts, disputes over world ranking points and Ryder Cup eligibility issues for LIV players, the rancour in the golf world doesn’t look to soon fade, not to mention criticism over the financial backing of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF over human rights issues in Saudi Arabia.
But on Sunday, LIV players were in a bullish mood and Perez used the occassion to make his feelings clear about criticism of the new circuit.
“All the pushback, all the negative comments, everything we’ve gotten, at this point, I really don’t care. I mean, I don’t care. I’m paid. I don’t give a damn,” Perez said.
“My team played unbelievable this year. I feel like I’m really part of something that I’ve never been part of, other than me and my caddie, we’ve just been just us our whole life.
“To have these guys and their caddies and families and coaches and everybody, it’s just one big family now. I just couldn’t be any happier. It’s unbelievable.”
KONYA: The Saudi karate team ended its participation at the 12th World Junior and U21 Karate Championships in Konya, Turkiye with three gold medals and two silver medals.
Ali Mogarri and Abdulaziz Al-Seif won youth silver medals for the weight classes of 68 kilograms and 61 kilograms, respectively, and Olympic class competitor Sanad Sufiani took home the gold medal for the 84+ kilogram division.
The results marked the first time the Saudi team achieved three world champions in their respective categories.
Dr. Musharraf Al-Shahri, president of the Saudi Karate Federation, congratulated the Saudi leadership on the achievement.
He also expressed his appreciation to Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, minister of Sports and President of the Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and his deputy Prince Fahd bin Jalawi, for their support and follow-up, which have had a significant impact on making dreams and visions come true for Saudi sport in general, but Saudi Karatekas in particular.
A total of 1,778 athletes from 98 nations competed in the competition.
VIENNA: Daniil Medvedev celebrated becoming a father for the first time earlier this month with his second ATP title of the year in beating Canada’s Denis Shapovalov 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in Sunday’s final in Vienna.
The 26-year-old former world No. 1 dropped his first set of the week as Shapovalov produced some eye-catching tennis by firing down 21 winners.
However, Medvedev — whose wife Daria gave birth to a baby girl on Oct. 14 — did not buckle and stormed back to level the match with some terrific shots of his own.
The third set was a procession as the Russian broke Shapovalov several times and eventually took the title with his sixth match point.
“I am really happy,” said Medvedev, who had reached the quarterfinals on the only other occasion he played in Vienna.
“This match was the best of the week because Denis was really playing unreal until probably 4-3 in the second set.
“He dropped his level by maybe two percent and I was able to use it.
“This is one of the best victories when you know your opponent is on top of you, but you try and stay there and do what you can.”
Medvedev’s 15th career title sets him up nicely for the final two targets for him this season.
First up is the Paris Masters, where he was runner-up to Novak Djokovic last year, which get underway on Monday and the ATP Finals in Turin on November 13-20. Medvedev won that event in 2020.
“I like to play indoor hard courts at the end of the season,” said Medvedev.
“I feel that I do a great job with my team not to arrive burnt out.
“I am looking forward to the last two tournaments of the year which are really important and I usually play well.”
For Shapovalov, it was his second loss in a final this month after he was beaten by Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in Seoul and the defeat leaves him with just the one title, in Stockholm in 2019.
LONDON: Reiss Nelson was the unlikely hero as Arsenal retook top spot in the Premier League with a 5-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
Nelson was introduced for the first time in the Premier League this season after Bukayo Saka was forced off with a concerning injury for England boss Gareth Southgate just weeks ahead of the World Cup.
Saka set up the opening goal for Gabriel Martinelli after just five minutes before being replaced due to an ankle injury.
Nelson struck his first Premier League goal since July 2020 early in the second half to give Arsenal breathing space.
He added a second just three minutes later and then teed up Thomas Partey to curl into the top corner.
Martin Odegaard rounded off a performance that shrugged off doubts over Arsenal’s ability to contend for the title by firing high past Dean Henderson 13 minutes from time.
Victory lifts Mikel Arteta’s men a point above Manchester City at the top of the table.
The Arsenal players came together to show support to teammate Pablo Mari before kick-off.
Mari, who is on loan at Monza, was stabbed during a knife attack in an Italian supermarket this week that left one person dead.
That incident put Arsenal’s bad week on the field into perspective after a 1-1 draw at Southampton last weekend was followed by a 2-0 defeat to PSV Eindhoven in the Europa League.
Any fears that the Gunners were beginning to feel the fatigue of a packed schedule were blown away in a blistering opening.
Martinelli ducked to meet Saka’s inviting cross with his head to open the floodgates.
The Brazilian saw another effort cleared off the line, while Gabriel Jesus, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Odegaard also had chances.
But Saka’s departure is a major worry for Arteta ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Chelsea next weekend.
Forest had begun to find some form on their return to the top flight for the first time in 23 years in recent weeks, including a famous 1-0 win over Liverpool last weekend.
But only toward the end of the first half did they ever threaten to cause the hosts problems as Tomiyasu threw himself in front of Jesse Lingard’s effort.
Nelson quickly settled the game after the break as he blasted past Henderson after his first effort was saved and then turned in Jesus’ cross at the near post.
Partey made it four in style as caressed the ball into the top corner from 25 yards.
Jesus was trying everything he could to end a seven-game goal drought, but had to settle for a second assist as from his pass, Odegaard found the space to fire home the fifth.