Qatar World Cup begins with stakes excessive for hosts By Reuters

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© Reuters. Soccer Soccer – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Preview – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar – November 19, 2022 Normal view exterior the Al Bayt stadium forward of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 REUTERS/John Sibley

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By Andrew Mills and Maya Gebeily

AL KHOR, Qatar (Reuters) – The World Cup kicked off in Qatar on Sunday with the Muslim nation, which confronted a barrage of criticism over its therapy of international employees, LGBT rights and social restrictions, staking its fame on delivering a clean event.

In a present of solidarity, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and the presidents of Egypt, Turkey and Algeria, in addition to the United Nations Secretary-Normal, are amongst leaders on the opening ceremony in a tent-shaped stadium forward of the primary match between the hosts and Ecuador.

Qatar, which has denied accusations of abuse of employees and discrimination, and FIFA hope the concentration is going to now flip to motion on the pitch. Organisers have additionally denied allegations of bribery for internet hosting rights.

Inside Al Bayt Stadium many seats have been nonetheless vacant with gridlock on the expressway resulting in the sector, the place cheers went up as Qatar’s crew appeared for his or her opening match.

Onstage, singer Jungkook of Ok-pop boy band BTS will carry out a brand new event track, alongside Qatari singer Fahad Al-Kubaisi.

The soccer event, the primary held within the Center East and the most costly in its historical past, is a end result of Qatar’s comfortable energy push, after a 3-1/2 12 months boycott by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain which resulted in 2021.

The UAE, whose rapprochement with Doha has been slower than that of Riyadh and Cairo, despatched its vice chairman who can be ruler of Dubai, the place many World Cup followers have opted to remain.

For the primary time, a direct industrial flight from Tel Aviv to Doha landed in Qatar on Sunday regardless of the absence of formal bilateral ties, in a deal brokered by FIFA to hold each Palestinians and Israelis to the event.

The Gulf state’s Deputy Prime Minister Khalid Al-Attiyah, in remarks on state media, stated Qatar was reaping rewards of years of “exhausting work and sound planning”.

On Saturday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino rounded on European critics of Qatar, saying engagement was the one method to enhance rights, whereas Doha has additionally pointed to labour reforms.

Denmark’s and Germany’s crew captains will put on One Love armbands as they put together to compete in a conservative Muslim state the place same-sex relations are unlawful. Organisers say all are welcome whereas warning in opposition to public affection.

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Throngs of followers have been already arriving in Qatar however the primary rush shall be later this week.

Daniel Oordt from Holland, clad in orange, advised Reuters there was a sense of “fixed strain round you to not say the flawed factor or make the flawed transfer”. “It is not a enjoyable ambiance to have at a World Cup.”

Argentina fan Julio Cesar although stated he anticipated an awesome ambiance. “We’ll drink earlier than the match,” he added, after alcohol gross sales at stadiums have been banned.

Guests sipped beer on the FIFA Fan Competition in central Doha. Outdoors town’s edges, tons of of employees gathered in a sports activities area in an industrial zone, with out alcohol. They will watch matches there, priced out of the stadiums many toiled to construct together with different infrastructure for the occasion.

“In fact I did not purchase a ticket. They’re costly and I ought to use that cash for different issues – like sending it again dwelling to my household,” Ghanaian nationwide Kasim, a safety guard who has labored in Qatar for 4 years, advised Reuters.

Fuel exporter Qatar is the smallest nation to host soccer’s greatest world occasion. Crowd management shall be key with some 1.2 million guests anticipated – greater than a 3rd of its inhabitants.

Staff have been placing remaining touches to Doha’s panorama, together with draping a purple tarpaulin over an unfinished constructing close to the stadium the place the ultimate shall be held.

At Lagoona Mall, residents have been going about their enterprise.

“I got here now as a result of I do not know the way dangerous the visitors shall be later this week,” stated Egyptian girl Esraa, grocery procuring

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