The opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2022 was completed on Sunday, November 20 in Qatar. The ceremony included performances from world-renowned artists such as Morgan Freeman and Jungkook from BTS. But instead of gathering the attention which the Qatar government was hoping for, the event gathered attention from people who are questioning the Qatar government and FIFA regarding human rights and possible corruption charges. The Qatar government has been criticized by people across the world for its treatment of female football fans and fans who belong to the LGBTQ+ community. Because of this, many broadcasting networks including BBC ignored the opening ceremony to distance themselves from the surrounding controversy.
The Qatar government tried to bring international artists of different races and beliefs to calm down the criticism and to get the attention of the global public onto football rather than Qatar's treatment of football fans. But this attempt completely failed as the broadcasters simply ignored the event. BBC is one of the largest broadcasting networks in the world and the biggest in Europe. But the BBC simply just switched their coverage of the opening ceremony to a live stream, rather than actively covering the event. The BBC’s host of Match of the Day, Gary Lineker said that this is the most controversial world cup in the history of FIFA. he addressed all the controversial decisions and events which have surrounded this world cup. He said that FIFA’s announcement of Qatar hosting the world cup in 2010 was already a controversial statement that many believed were due to corruption. He also added Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers who helped the country in building the stadiums and the rumors of many workers losing their lives. He further talked about how in Qatar homosexuality is illegal and how Qatar treats women and their rights and the people who believe in freedom of speech. In other parts of the world, where people were watching their favorite performers perform, the BBC was talking about how this world cup is full of controversies and has the largest carbon footprint of any other world cup in history. Former football players who were invited as experts on BBC’s panel said that politics should be completely kept away from sports. Alex Scot, the former English football player, addressed Gianni Infantino, chief of FIFA, stating that he does not understand the pain of migrant workers and his saying that football is for everyone, is wrong. Alan Shearer, another former English football player, said that if Gianni Infantino is so sympathetic towards the migrant workers then why FIFA still has not agreed to pay the compensation of $400 million to the families of migrant workers which Amnesty has been asking for?
As BBC was completely breaking down the criticisms surrounding the FIFA world cup, Al Jazeera English, a news channel supported by the Qatar government, was showing a different portrayal of the event. Al Jazeera addressed the controversy surrounding the Qatar government and the World Cup. But along with this, the channel was actively stating how football is bringing countries and people together. Because of such an opening, the World Cup 2022 will be followed by many people across the world, either for good matches or for controversies.