Qatar play cliché World Cup opening ceremony bingo in perfect example of sports washing

After almost 12 years of waiting, the Qatar 2022 World Cup is just around the corner.

The first game will pit the hosts against Ecuador, but it will be preceded by the opening ceremony.

The ceremony is scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m. GMT, ahead of the opening match, which kicks off at 4:00 p.m. GMT.

Taking place at the 60,000-seat Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, 35 km north of Doha, big stars will be performing.

BTS singer and K-Pop star Jung Kook announced he would be performing on the group’s official Twitter account, while American rapper Lil Baby – who released the World Cup anthem “The World is Yours to Take” – also said he would also be part of the opening ceremony.

Qatari singers Fahad Al-Kubaisi and Dana will also perform.

Nora Fatehi, a Canadian actress who is best known for her work in the Indian film industry, is expected to sing the tournament’s official song, Light The Sky.

Fifa said the ceremony “will include tributes to the 32 competing teams, former FIFA World Cup hosts and event volunteers”.

Reports had suggested English pop star Dua Lipa could be performing, but she denied this in an Instagram post. She says:

“There is currently a lot of speculation about my performance at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar.

“I will not be playing and I have never been involved in any negotiations to play. I will be cheering England on from afar… One love, Dua.”

British singer-songwriter Rod Stewart told The Times he turned down an offer of “over a million dollars” to perform in Qatar.

Colombian singer Shakira was also scheduled to perform at the opening ceremony but pulled out for personal reasons, according to reports in Spain.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso has said he will not attend his country’s highly publicized opening game, citing domestic unrest.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Doha on Saturday evening to attend Sunday’s opening ceremony.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will travel to Qatar to attend the opening ceremony, state television said on Sunday quoting the presidency.