For the first time ever, the FIFA World Cup is all set to kick start in the Middle East and Arab world as Qatar is hosting the mega event.
The sports event will start with a sparkling opening ceremony inside the Bedouin-tent-inspired Al Bayt Stadium, 40 kilometers north of Doha, at 5:30 pm local time (7:30 pm PST) as several celebrities have been invited to perform at the event.
On Sunday, the World Cup began in Qatar, a Muslim country that has come under fire for its treatment of foreign employees, acceptance of LGBT people, and social restrictions. Qatar is betting its reputation on hosting a successful World Cup.
The United Nations Secretary-General, the presidents of Egypt, Turkey, and Algeria, as well as the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, are among the world figures present at the opening ceremony at the tent-shaped stadium before the first game between the hosts and Ecuador.
FIFA and Qatar, who have both refuted claims of worker abuse and discrimination, are hoping the focus will now shift to behavior on the field. Additionally, the organizers have refuted claims of hosting rights bribes.
Inside Al Bayt Stadium many seats were still vacant with gridlock on the expressway leading to the arena, where cheers went up as Qatar’s team appeared for their opening match.
After three and a half year boycott by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain that ended in 2021, the football event, the first to be staged in the Middle East and the most expensive in its history, is the conclusion of Qatar’s soft power effort.
The UAE sent its vice president, who also serves as the ruler of Dubai, where many World Cup supporters have chosen to stay, even if its rapprochement with Doha has been slower than that of Riyadh and Cairo.
Despite the lack of formal diplomatic relations, a direct commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Doha landed in Qatar on Sunday as part of an agreement facilitated by FIFA to transport both Palestinians and Israelis to the competition.
The Gulf state’s Deputy Prime Minister Khalid Al-Attiyah, in remarks on state media, said Qatar was reaping the benefits of years of “hard work and sound planning”.
On Saturday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino rounded on European critics of Qatar, saying engagement was the only way to improve rights, while Doha has also pointed to labor reforms.
Denmark’s and Germany’s team captains will wear One Love armbands as they prepare to compete in a conservative Muslim state where same-sex relations are illegal. Organizers say all are welcome while warning against public affection.
FIFA World Cup 2022 kicks off today in Qatar with a star-studded opening ceremony
The actor, 85, narrated the event’s opening segment titled ‘The Calling’, telling viewers ‘We all gather here in one big tribe’ as fans descended on Doha city center for the imminent kick-off of the world’s greatest football festival.
As of right now, fans have arrived at the Al Bayt stadium for this afternoon’s first game amid the glaring sun and temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius. At the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha, spectators witness the opening ceremony of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football game between Ecuador and Qatar.
On stage, Qatari singer Fahad Al-Kubaisi and singer Jungkook of the K-pop boy band BTS will perform a brand-new song for the competition.
The 30-minute show will be full of surprises, with the main act featuring a performance of Dreamers – another hit single on the FIFA World Cup Official Soundtrack – by celebrated South Korean pop star Jung Kook of BTS and Qatari singer Fahad Al-Kubaisi.
At the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, dancers perform during the opening ceremony prior to the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador.
Prior to the opening ceremony and the Group A match between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, former France international Marcel Desailly held the World Cup trophy.
With the assistance of regional tour operators, visitors will have the chance to take part in wild expeditions and camping in the area, creating a memorable travel experience in Hail’s beautiful natural surroundings.
With its variety of entertainment alternatives, Hail Season not only significantly improves the area’s capacity to host major events but also creates work possibilities.
The event also plays a significant role in promoting adventure tourism and creating sustainable infrastructure for the area, which will foster economic growth and draw both domestic and foreign tourists, in keeping with the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.