For the first time in FIFA history, the World Cup is held in a Muslim country. Qatar has reportedly spent up to $220 billion in preparation to host the world’s largest stage. Playing the World Cup in a Muslim country meant that the rules would be different.
A few weeks before kickoff, FIFA released a statement on Twitter announcing the prohibition of alcohol sales in the stadium. The announcement was made after ticket sales were purchased, which angered a lot of the fans. Many of them took to twitter and other social media platforms to voice their dismay.
Qatar was allowed to host the World Cup because they agreed to follow the rules that FIFA outlined for qualifying to host the event.
They then at the last moment decided "no we won't allow alcohol, no we won't allow representation."
Hosting the cup is a privilege.
— Richard Warren (@rswarren27) November 21, 2022
FIFA is a criminal org. Qatar was one of the worst choices. A winter World Cup is a crime. No alcohol at the worlds biggest sporting event? Unpardonable.
— Bbenn (@bbenn68) November 20, 2022
However, FIFA president Gianni Infantino, seemed to downplay the public’s disapproval of the ruling.
“If for three hours a day you cannot drink a beer, you will survive,” Infantino said in a press conference. “Maybe there is a reason why in France, in Spain, in Scotland, alcohol is banned in stadiums. Maybe they are more intelligent than us, having thought maybe we should be doing that.”
The teams were also threatened to be yellow-carded if they were shown wearing any rainbow armbands, including the ‘One Love’ armband which signifies inclusion and diversity. Two yellow cards would result in players ejected from the game and banned from the following match– a risk no player has yet taken. The rainbow armband is widely known as a symbol for the LGBTQ+ community. Qatar’s laws do not recognize the legitimacy of such relationships and the country has disallowed its representation on home turf.
Qatar should never have been given any FIFA contract. They’ve proven this week that they are politically and morally fragile.
No alcohol at the venue?
Are they that afraid that their religion and government will fail by exposure to outside ideas for a few weeks? https://t.co/ld3c58wsHO
— Holly Gossett (@BayDaze) November 22, 2022
Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari, who is the top security officer for the 2022 World Cup made it clear that people in same-sex relations are welcome to attend, but its representation and symbolism is not allowed.
“Here we cannot change the laws,” Al Ansari said. “You cannot change religion for 28 days for the World Cup.”
Because of this, many public figures have made known their refusal to take part in this year’s World Cup games due to these restrictions as well as Qatar’s exploitation of migrant workers.
Dua Lipa Denies Involvement in FIFA World Cup 2022, Urges Host Nation Qatar to Address Human Rights Concerns https://t.co/8hOOVSdNVv
— Variety (@Variety) November 13, 2022
Another first for Qatar is that it allowed fans and media to fly in from Israel to watch the game. According to the Israeli foreign ministry, flights between Israel and Qatar have not yet been exchanged, as the country of Qatar also does not recognize Israel as a legitimate state. However, videos have circulated of Arab fans refusing to speak to Israeli reporters and taking many opportunities to voice a ‘Free Palestine’ movement. Likewise, the Palestinian flag has made several appearances thus far at the World Cup events.
"The only way Qataris can show their disapproval is by ignoring them"
Mubarak, a Qatari citizen, told MEE that the presence of Israeli media was "not acceptable" for most Qataris, but they had begrudgingly accepted as the country hosts the tournamenthttps://t.co/CSVinXFaZ0
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) November 23, 2022
Despite all of these differences, sports has a way of unifying the masses.
Google estimates a total of one million attendees and over three billion people are watching the World Cup from home.
The games will continue from now until December 18, 2022, which will be the championship tournament.
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