The World Cup kicks off in high-stakes occasions for host Qatar

The World Cup kicks off in Qatar on Sunday in a high-stakes occasion for the tiny nation that has confronted a barrage of criticism and staked its fame on delivering a slick match, the primary to be held within the Center East and the costliest in historical past.

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In a present of Gulf solidarity, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was among the many political leaders who arrived in Doha for the opening ceremony held in a tent-shaped stadium at 1440 GMT, forward of the primary match between hosts Qatar and Ecuador.

The match marks a fruits of Qatar’s comfortable energy affect on the worldwide stage and a lift after rising from a 3-1/2-year boycott by Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies, which led to 2021. The occasion will even see the primary direct flight from Israel to Qatar for the WC.

On stage, South Korean singer Jungkook from Okay-pop boy band BTS will carry out a brand new official tour track referred to as Dreamers alongside Qatari singer Fahad Al-Kubaisi. The Secretary-Common of the United Nations and the President of Algeria might be among the many international dignitaries.

Qatar and FIFA hope the focus will flip to motion on the pitch after dealing with mounting criticism over international employee rights, LGBTQ rights and social restrictions. Organizers have denied allegations of bribery for internet hosting rights.

Denmark and Germany’s group captains will put on One Love bracelets, their groups stated, as they put together to compete in a conservative Muslim state the place same-sex relationships are unlawful.

Alcohol has been banned from stadiums, and organizers have warned towards public shows of affection whereas saying all followers are welcome to the occasion.

A price of 220 billion {dollars}

As some guests loved their first sips of beer on the launch of FIFA’s fan competition on Saturday in central Doha, lots of of staff, all males, gathered at a sports activities enviornment in an industrial zone on town’s outskirts the place no alcohol was served. They will have the ability to watch matches there.

“Of course I didn’t buy a ticket. They are expensive and I should use that money for other things – like sending it home to my family,” Ghanaian nationwide Kasim, a safety guard who has labored in Qatar for 4 years, advised Reuters .

Neville, a 24-year-old Kenyan, and compatriot Willy, additionally 24 and a Manchester Metropolis fan, had been employed as safety guards in the course of the occasion. “It’s once in a lifetime and it’s definitely worth it,” stated Neville.

Wealthy fuel producer Qatar is the smallest nation to host soccer’s greatest world occasion, organized at a price of $220 billion. Crowd management might be key with round 1.2 million guests anticipated – greater than a 3rd of Qatar’s inhabitants.

Most of the staff who toiled to organize match infrastructure might be watching from the sidelines, priced out of the arenas. Doha has been criticized for its remedy of migrant staff however factors to labor reforms towards exploitation.

Staff had been placing the ending touches on out of doors gardens and sidewalks on Saturday and transporting constructing supplies to a website close to the Nationwide Museum, the place followers in Argentina shirts had been among the many dozens who milled round.

With a restricted variety of accommodations in Qatar, followers will even fly in on every day shuttle flights from cities similar to vacationer hub Dubai, as Qatar shares the monetary blessing of the World Cup with neighbours.

“When we came in it was like a bit of a workplace,” England fan Neil Gahan stated in an space of ​​Doha that homes fanportacabins.

The cottages had been “not brilliant”, he stated, however there have been sports activities services close by and big screens. “Yes, I think it will be all right”.


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