The World Cup in Bonn How Bonn's football fans are watching the World Cup in Qatar

Bonn · Germany played for the first time in this World Cup at noon on Wednesday. Many restaurateurs are boycotting the tournament. Some bars and pubs are showing the games. But what is the mood like among football fans in Bonn?

Leon Finemann (2nd from left) and his friends are watching Germany's World Cup opener at the Sion im Carré.

Leon Finemann (2nd from left) and his friends are watching Germany's World Cup opener at the Sion im Carré.

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

It’s the first Germany match of the World Cup (WM) in Qatar - and there is not much going on in Bonn city centre. There are hardly any jerseys or fan articles on display, and the pubs showing the match against Japan are mostly empty. Enthusiasm for the sports event on 23 November is very limited. "Everyone is somehow against it," says Georg Sönksen, husband of the operator of the Mausefalle, where the match is being shown. There is no real World Cup atmosphere.

It's all about the sport

But a few fans have not been deterred by the political goings-on surrounding the tournament: "For me, it's just about the sport," says Leon Finemann, who is watching the Germany match with his friends in the pub Sion im Carré – among a total of a dozen spectators.

The young men agree that FIFA has suffered damage to its image. The ban on the "one-love" captain's armband and letting the World Cup take place in Qatar was wrong, they say. While they enjoy watching football, they also understand the criticism of the sporting event. "In my circle of friends, many are boycotting the tournament, and I think that's a good thing," said a friend of Finemann's who wishes to remain anonymous.

Ivan Selac, who works in Sion, also says the ban on the armband a pity, "but they already knew that when Qatar was chosen as the host," he remarks. The native Croatian is a football fan and even had tickets for the Qatar. "But I gave them back when I heard that there would be no beer in the stadium," says Selac. The reason why Leon Finemann and his friends will not be there in Qatar is also: "No beer!" At least that's what Florian Rothe says and laughs.

Fundraiser in the mousetrap

The ban on beer is also incomprehensible to the football fans in the Mausefalle. One of them raises his glass and they all join in a toast "to Amnesty International". Sönksen explains what they mean: " We had a long discussion in the team and argued about whether to show any matches." In the end, they decided to - but linked the football watching with a good cause: The operator and her husband as well as waiters and guests are encouraged to donate to Amnesty International.

Sönksen: "We can't stop the World Cup, but this way we can do something good." The guests support the fundraising campaign and think the professional footballers should donate their 400,000 euros bonus to charitable organisations if Germany wins any matches.

Valerie Helms, a member of staff at the pub, says: "There were about 15 Japanese people here to watch the game." At the Mausefalle, there are 15 - mostly men. "You have to remember it's Wednesday at 2 p.m." the landlord explains. The mood among the football enthusiasts is good, there is commentary and cheering. The armband is also a topic here. "It's ridiculous of FIFA to ban it," says Sascha Sehr. "An embarrassment," agrees his friend Dirk Weidefeller.

Sönksen sums up the situation: "I simply have no World Cup feeling. I think a lot of people feel that way." However, the landlord is curious to see how big the crowd in the pub will be at 8 p.m. on Sunday when Germany kicks off against Spain.

Original text: Felizia Schug

Translation: Jean Lennox