FIFA President Gianni Infantino wrote to world Cup nations imploring them to stick to football when the tournament begins.
England and Wales are still awaiting a response from the governing body over a planned armband protest to raise awareness of LGBT discrimination. However, Infantino and Fatma Samoura, Fifa’s general secretary, instead wrote in their letter: “Everyone is welcome, regardless of race, origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality. “.
Amid scrutiny also around the nation’s treatment of migrant workers, the letter goes on to stress that Fifa is not a political organisation. “Please come to Qatar and enjoy football – the greatest spectacle in the world,” adds Infantino.
The competition begins in Doha on November 20 after a tough build-up, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has also said the players shouldn’t be pressured into protesting. “I don’t like people expecting [the players] now to do something,” he said earlier this week. “They’re going there to play football.”
The Doha Laws on Homosexuality are likely to remain a problem throughout the tournament, however. Public displays of affection – in a country where overt displays of homosexuality, for example, remain banned – are among the issues the Foreign Office urges caution on in its latest travel advice.
As a result, the UK Police Engagement Team will be on hand in an “advisory role”, pointing out “with a smile” where fans risk breaking local laws. It emerged last month that Qatar was outsourcing frontline policing to Turkish and Pakistani forces. Turkey is sending around 3,000 riot officers who will be on standby.
Qatar pays fans to attend World Cup opener – as long as they report offensive social media posts
By Ben Rumsby
Fans signed up for a program in which they agreed to publicly promote and not “disparage” the World Cup in Qatar were offered a free trip to attend the opening game of the tournament.
The ‘most active’ among those who signed up for the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy’s ‘Fan Leader Network’ were invited to nominate a small number of supporters to attend the match between the host nation and Ecuador.
The network of more than 450 fans from 59 countries was set up two years ago to help shape the experience of fans during the tournament in the tiny Gulf state and those involved were given a forum to privately share any concerns they may have had.
They also had to sign a code of conduct pledging to “support the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022” and not to “disparage Qatar, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (or other entities concerned related to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022) or Fifa”. Qatar 2022 World Cup”.
Additionally, they were required to report any “offensive, degrading or abusive” comments made by others on social media content they posted about the tournament.
The code of conduct stressed that fan leaders were not asked to be “a spokesperson for Qatar” and should be “clear and visible” about their involvement in the programme.
Some of those involved have already attended the final draw, the Arab Cup and the Lusail Super Cup, with six of them having recently met the World Cup ambassador and former England captain David Beckham.
The news that they had been offered free flights, accommodation and tickets to the opening game comes at the culmination of a 12-year build-up to one of the most controversial events ever, which was in plagued by the death and abuse of migrant workers in Qatar and protests against the country’s anti-gay laws.
A spokesperson for the Supreme Committee said: “The Fan Leader Network has been established to engage and communicate directly with football fans around the world who may be interested in learning more about the FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022.
“Fans are the lifeblood of any successful tournament and through this network of over 450 people from 59 nations we have been able to understand how fans from a wide variety of footballing cultures enjoy sporting events and provide direct access to them. tournament organizers to share their comments and ask questions about the tournament and the host country.
“Our supporters are made up of superfans, regular football tournament attendees, grassroots enthusiasts and official and unofficial members of supporter groups who have all expressed an interest in learning more about the tournament and the country. host. This is an unpaid and voluntary role.
“As the tournament approaches, we have invited our most active fan leaders to personally nominate a small selection of fans to join us as guests to participate in the FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony, Qatar 2022, to thank them for their collaboration and recognize their role as leaders within their communities.