The World Cup begins with high stakes for FIFA host Qatar


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dated: 2022-11-20 17:05:03 .

AL KHOR – The World Cup kicked off in Qatar on Sunday with the Muslim nation facing a barrage of criticism over its treatment of international workers, LGBT rights and social restrictions, putting its reputation on the light side.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, arrived at the stadium accompanied by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, in front of a raucous crowd, and took his seats alongside various Arab leaders.

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The field then featured a gift that included three camels, American actor Morgan Freeman and the effectiveness of a brand new tune for the event called Dreamers featuring singer Jungkook of Okay-pop boy band BTS, alongside Qatari singer Fahad Al-Kubaisi.

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia and the presidents of Egypt, Turkey and Algeria, along with the normal secretary of the United Nations, are among the leaders in the tent-shaped stadium ahead of the championship game between the hosts and Ecuador.

Qatar, which has denied allegations of employee abuse and discrimination, and FIFA hope the focus will now shift to the pitch. The organizers further denied allegations of bribery for internet hosting rights.

Inside the Al Bayt Stadium, many seats were vacant due to the highway gridlock resulting in the world, and there were cheers in the place when Qatar’s personnel appeared for his or her opening game.

The soccer event, the first to be held in the Middle East and the most expensive in its history, is the end result of Qatar’s delicate energy push, following a 3-1/2-year boycott by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain that resulted in the 2021

The United Arab Emirates, whose rapprochement with Doha has been slower than that of Riyadh and Cairo, has sent its deputy who can also be the ruler of Dubai, where many World Cup followers have chosen to stay.

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For the first time, a direct business flight from Tel Aviv to Doha landed in Qatar on Sunday despite the absence of official bilateral ties, in a deal brokered by FIFA to keep all Palestinians and Israelis at the event.

The Gulf state’s deputy prime minister, Khalid Al-Attiyah, said in statements to state media that Qatar had benefited from years of “hard work and good planning.”

On Saturday, FIFA’s Infantino rounded on Qatar’s European critics, saying engagement was the only approach to increasing rights, while Doha emphasized labor reforms.

The captains of Denmark and Germany will don One Love armbands as they compete together in the conservative Muslim nation where same-sex relations are illegal. Organizers say that everyone is welcome, while warning against public favoritism.


Crowds of followers have already been arriving in Qatar, but the main influx could be later this week.

Daniel Oordt of the Netherlands, dressed in orange, told Reuters there was a sense of “constant tension around you not to say the wrong factor or make the wrong transmission”. “It’s not a pleasant atmosphere at the World Cup.”

Argentina fan, Julio Cesar, though said he expected a great atmosphere. “We will drink before the game”, he added after the gross sale of alcohol in stadiums was banned.

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Guests sipped beer at the FIFA Fan Pageant in downtown Doha. The outer edges of the city, a lot of employees gathered in a sports environment in an industrial zone, without alcohol. They will watch the matches there, at a price of the stadiums that many asked to build along with different infrastructure for the occasion.

“However, I didn’t buy a ticket. They are expensive and I should use that cash for different issues – like sending them back to my home,” Kasim from across Ghana, a security guard who has worked in Qatar for four years, told Reuters.

Gasoline exporter Qatar is the smallest nation to host the world’s biggest soccer event. Crowd management can be key with around 1.2 million guests expected – more than a third of its population.

Staff were putting the finishing touches on the Doha skyline, along with a purple tarp draped over an unfinished structure near the stadium, where the top spot could be held.

At Lagoona Mall, residents went about their business.

“I came here because I don’t know how many unhealthy site visitors there may be later this week,” said Egyptian Esraa, grocery

(Reporting by Maya Gebeily and Andrew Mills; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Additional reporting by Yesim Dikmen, Thomas Suen, Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber, Ilze Filks and Karolos Grohmann in Doha and Omar Fhamy and Mahmoud Mourad in Cairo; Editing by William Mallard, Kirsten Donovan and Alexander Smith )

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