— Published 5 August 2022

An agreement between Paris and Doha on security

Paradox. A little over two months after the fiasco of the Champions League final at the Stade de France, a security partnership between France and Qatar for the 2022 World Cup was voted on Thursday 4 August by the French National Assembly. The deputies validated it by 154 votes to 126. The text of the agreement had been signed by the two countries in March 2021, but was awaiting adoption by Parliament. It provides for the presence in Qatar during the World Cup (21 November to 18 December) of 21 specialised GIGN operators, 170 anti-drone experts, 10 demining specialists, 10 dog teams to search for explosives, and finally 5 to 8 experts provided by the national division for combating hooliganism. The project’s rapporteur, Amélia Lakrafi, said that Qatar had asked France for help with equipment and experts. She added that the Gulf state could “express additional needs“. Without much surprise, the adoption of the text was preceded by a long debate, with opposition members denouncing, in bulk, the “ecological scandal” of the 2022 World Cup, the “scandalous treatment of migrant workers” and the lack of respect for human rights in Qatar. But the Minister of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Olivier Becht, was pragmatic and replied that the security of sporting events was a “strong axis” of cooperation between France and Qatar, from the 2006 Asian Games to the 2021 Arab Cup of Nations and soon the 2022 World Cup.