Survey: 59.01% believe USMNT should boycott World Cup

Posted on 06 August, 2021 by Danny McLoughlin

Amid growing calls from European countries to boycott the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, we surveyed 4,201 people (including 1,015 Americans) to understand the general position on the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) and the upcoming football World Cup.

Key findings:

  • 59.01% believe the USMNT should boycott Qatar ‘22
  • 60.59% believe World Cup ‘22 should be removed from Qatar and held elsewhere

59.01% believe the USMNT should boycott Qatar ‘22

When surveyed, 599 out of 1,015 Americans (59.01%) stated they believe the USMNT should boycott the FIFA World Cup next year in Qatar due to human rights issues.

As with all complex issues, a huge proportion responded that they did not know. This could either be because they have yet to make up their mind on such a difficult topic or that they are completely unaware of the issues around Qatar.

Why do fans want a boycott?

There are potentially a number of issues that would lead to fans wanting to boycott the World Cup in Qatar next year.

We specifically asked about two sets of human rights issues: the treatment of migrant workers and the treatment of women and the LGBT+ community in Qatar.

56.06% of respondents stated they think US Football should boycott due to the treatment of migrant workers.

The Guardian recently stated 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since the World Cup was awarded.

This was slightly lower (52.51%) when respondents were asked about Women’s rights and the rights of the LGBT+ community.

60.59% believe World Cup ‘22 should be removed from Qatar

When asked whether the tournament should be taken away from Qatar and held in a different country, 60.59% of respondents stated their belief that it should be.

This is in line with but slightly higher than the overall percentage of people that stated they thought the USMNT should boycott the tournament.

This suggests there is a group of people that don’t believe in a boycott but would like to see the tournament removed from Qatar, even at this late date.

How does this compare to the rest of the world?

When comparing the US data to the results of all 4,201 respondents worldwide, we can see that the rest of the world is more inclined to be in favour of a boycott.

However, the US respondents were not significantly more likely to be against a boycott. Instead, they tended to be undecided in higher numbers.

This could be explained by a lack of awareness of the issues. In other countries where football is the number one sport, it receives a much higher proportion of the news coverage and does not need to compete with the likes of NBA and NFL to the same extent. Stories about the issues in Qatar often receive much more prominent coverage, which reasonably leads to more awareness.

Only looking at those who know the issues

When focusing only on the Americans who provided a conclusive answer, the data shows that as many as 81.28% of respondents believe that the US men’s football team should boycott the FIFA World cup in Qatar.

For those that do know the issue, the answers are unequivocal.

Americans believe that FIFA should remove the tournament from Qatar. However, if it does go ahead as planned, they believe US Football should boycott the World Cup.

Use of content:

If you have any questions regarding the above findings, the following report, or are looking for interviews, please feel free to reach out to Danny McLoughlin, Research Director here at RunRepeat by email at

Feel free to use any of the findings, data, and graphs from this report. We just ask that you link back to this report when doing so.

Don't let politics ruin your love of the game

Whether or not you feel strongly about a boycott, it's important not to lose your love of the game.

Lace up your football cleats then get out and play. Whether it's the super league or the Qatar world cup there is a lot going on that can drive fans mad about modern American football. But, getting down to the local grass pitch or even indoors and kick a ball around with your friends. That is the true love of the game.

Just make sure you know what you're doing and you have the right cleats for the right surface.

Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin
Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in American football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in American football Commentary. His American football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.