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 sit 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 do not want to rank the reasons on a scale of horror. First, we will play football on bones, on a cemetery: the construction of stadiums has cost lives, in a country that is trampling the rights of women, men, LGBTQIA +. Then there is the idea of a World Cup in winter, in the desert, where the stadiums will have to be cooled. At the time of ecocide, to at a time when the people of Brussels do not know how to pay the bill for the energy crisis, it is indecent. 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 conjunction of these circumstances meant that we could no longer look at each other in a mirror while broadcasting the matches. We weren’t going to party around this football: we don’t find ourselves there.”
The Horeca is coming out of the Covid crisis: you are giving up recipes that can be timely…
“We will have a shortfall, that’s obvious. Over the month of the competition, we could count on 50 to 60% more turnover. Especially since, in principle, it’s a month without a terrace . We would have blown our stats. We decide to sit on it.”
Does the decision apply to all the bars of the team at the head of the Maison du peuple?
“Yes. My other addresses, Chez Franz, Chez Richard and Tortue, are obviously less known for their broadcast of matches. But this also applies to Caberdouche, in the Pentagon, led by my associates: 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 it well. Some want to show football without playing politics. It’s normal.”
What about the future?
“We broadcast matches before Qatar. We still have to position ourselves for Euro 2024 in Germany. The question does not arise as 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, even if we are not fooled. Football is inseparable from business. We are not going to play the radicals either and not broadcast than the ABSSA matches. But in 2022 you have to educate yourself: promoting a circus like the one planned in Qatar is cynical. We don’t want to leave that world to our kids.”