When the rumour mill spread word that Dua Lipa and Rod Stewart would be performing at the FIFA World Cup’s opening ceremony in Qatar, many were rightfully confused.
Qatar sits on the Human Rights Watchlist and FIFA is the most celebrated football tournament around the world. Putting the two together then, would inevitably breed controversy.
While some see the Qatar’s hosting of 2022’s football elite as an opportunity to enforce change in the country, many others are of the opinion that Qatar should’ve met its human rights pledges beforehand. Dua Lipa and Rod Stewart have vocalised their thoughts, and shut down the rumours of their performances.
Taking to Instagram, Dua shared that she hasn’t been involved in negotiations to perform, she will be cheering England on from afar and looks forward to visiting Qatar “when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host the World Cup.”
As for Sir Stewart, the singer reportedly turned down his $1 million offer (Over R17 million) to perform in the country.
In speaking to the Sunday Times he shared: “I turned it down. It’s not right to go. And the Iranians should be out too for supplying arms. Tell you what, supporters have got to watch out, haven’t they?”
A game of hosts
Last year, the Miss Universe pageant was hosted in Israel. People were divided on the decision given the Israel-Palestine turmoil, especially in 2021. Former Miss SA Lalela Mswane faced public backlash for her decision to participate. The Miss SA organisation took the stance that it is not a political organisation and shouldn’t be viewed as such.
FIFA now stands in a similar firing line, and so do the fans.
Do we ignore the country’s controversy for the love of a game or pageant? Or should organisers be more firm in the conditions of their hosting choices?
According to Minky Worden, HRW director of global initiatives, the “2022 World Cup’s legacy will depend on whether Qatar remedies with FIFA the deaths and other abuses of migrant workers who built the tournament, carries out recent labor reforms, and protects human rights for all in Qatar – not just for visiting fans and footballers.”
Feature Image: @dualipa/Instagram | @r__u__t__h/Instagram