The Al Bayt Stadium, in Khor, has a capacity for 60,000 spectators.  Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters.

The gala begins at 11:30, an hour and a half before the first game of the tournament, between the local Qatar and Gustavo Alfaro’s Ecuador. It broadcasts Public Television.

Ninety minutes before the ball begins to move, that element that summons tens of thousands of supporters in Qatar and that will gather millions in front of screens in every corner of the planet, the world will have his housewarming party at the Al Bayt Stadium in Jor, a city of 31,000 inhabitants located 50 kilometers north of Doha. Sixty thousand people will witness a ceremony that was preceded by some counterpoints and which has some surprises in store.

There are few certainties about what will be seen starting at 11:30 a.m. (5:30 p.m. local time), with transmission on Public Television starting at 10 a.m., in this coliseum whose structure reproduces the shape of the tents used by nomadic peoples Qataris (called bayt al sha’ar). It is known that there will be a fireworks display when the sun has fallen, a special appearance by La’eeb, the mascot of the contest, and also musical shows. The presences and absences have been the subject of debate these days.

Among those who will lend their voice to the event will be the South Korean jungkookone of the seven members of the K-pop band bts, as confirmed by the group through its Twitter account. He would be joined by the Americans The Black Eyed Peashis compatriot lil baby and English robbie williams (He has already participated in Russia 2018), which came under the crossroads of those who criticized artists who agreed to participate in shows in a country that is especially questioned for its violations of human rights.




The Al Bayt Stadium, in Khor, has a capacity for 60,000 spectators. Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters.

“It would be hypocritical of me not to go. I do not condone any abuse of human rights anywhere. But if we don’t tolerate them anywhere, then I would have to do the shortest tour the world has ever known: I couldn’t even perform in my own kitchen,” Williams argued in advance of an interview for the magazine. Il Venerdi from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica which will be published next month.

As much or more impact than the list of participants in the party generated that of those who declined to intervene. Some, without giving explanations, like the Colombian Shakira, a subscriber to this kind of events (she participated in the closing shows in Germany 2006, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014). Others, like Dua Lipa Y Rod Stewartwith criticism of the authorities of the host country of the contest.

“I will be rooting for England from afar and I am looking forward to visiting Qatar when it has delivered on all the human rights promises it made when it won the right to host the World Cup,” she said. “They offered me a lot of money, more than a million dollars, to play there, but I refused. It wouldn’t be right to go,” he revealed.

The South Korean Jungkook will be one of the artists who will participate in the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar.  Photo: Lee Jin-man / AP.


The South Korean Jungkook will be one of the artists who will participate in the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar. Photo: Lee Jin-man / AP.

The questions, which have not been the exclusive patrimony of the artists, come from a long time ago. To them he responded this Saturday, appealing to the history books, the president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino. “For what we Europeans did during the last 3,000 years, we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 before giving up.” moral lessons to others. These moral lessons are simply hypocrisy”, He shot during a press conference in which Bryan Swanson, communication director of the mother house of ecumenical football, told that he was gay. He did it in a country where “homosexuality between men” and “sexual licentiousness” are considered crimes and punishable by a prison sentence of not less than one year.

Infantino will be one of the occupants of the main box at Al Bayt Stadium this Sunday. Next to him will be the Qatari emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Instead, the Ecuadorian president will be missing William Lasso, who excused himself from traveling for the opening match due to the serious security situation that part of his country is going through due to the actions of criminal organizations (the state of emergency and a curfew apply in the provinces of Guayas, Esmeraldas and Santo Domingo ). In his place will be Vice President Alfredo Borrero.

Everything ready in Qatar for the start of the World Cup.  Photo: Marko Djurica / Reuters.


Everything ready in Qatar for the start of the World Cup. Photo: Marko Djurica / Reuters.

Infantino, Tamin, Borrero and those who occupy the VIP sectors of the venue will be able to toast with whatever they want during the party. But if the rest of the spectators want to cool their throats with a bubbly drink, they will have to settle for a soft drink, since on Thursday FIFA, at the request of the Qatari government, prohibited the sale of beer in stadiums, despite the fact that the authorities of the emirate (where the law severely restricts alcohol consumption) had agreed to that condition when they applied to host the event. Budweiserwhich has a contract for 72 million euros in force with the governing body of the ball, acknowledged that the decision was “out of its control.”

In any case, a loophole was left open for lovers of spirits: beer will be sold in the FIFA Fan Festival, the main meeting space for fans, which was inaugurated on Saturday with a musical show by the Lebanese Myriam Fares and the Colombian Maluma. The venue, located in Al Bidda Park, a 188-hectare green lung facing Doha Bay, has a capacity for 40,000 people. There will be shows there for 29 days, with the confirmed presence of local and international artists such as Diplo, Kizz Daniel, Nora Fatehi, Trinidad Cardona and Calvin Harris, among others. All this while 32 selected bid to keep the World Cup trophy.

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