King Abdullah, Crown Prince Hussein and Prince Ali of Jordan were among the authorities present for the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The royals also watched the first half of the opening match, which was played between host Qatar and Ecuador’s team.
Before the events, the King and Crown Prince were welcomed at Al Bayt Stadium by Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to which His Majesty expressed his best wishes for a successful tournament and offered his congratulations for the efforts put in to organise the event.
Prince Ali, who was not present at the meeting, accompanied his brother and nephew in his roles as President of the Jordan Football Association and President of the West Asian Football Federation.
Jordan is not among the teams competing in the World Cup, but all Middle Eastern countries share a tight bond.
Despite the host country’s best efforts, this World Cup has generated controversies since its very inception. Qatar is one of the world’s strictest nations, and many bans have been put in place.
The latest one to make headlines around the world is a ban on the consumption of alcohol in the stadium or anywhere in the country. The host nation seems to have put FIFA itself in a difficult position, as Budweiser, one of the world’s largest beer companies, is one of the World Cup’s official sponsors.
Another controversy lies in the suspected violations of human rights that Qatar perpetrated against the workers, both local and foreign, that were hired to build the impressive infrastructure for the World Cup, which includes eight football stadiums and the necessary means to host football fans from all over the world.
The accommodations have also raised some eyebrows, with “luxurious suites” being nothing more than small shipping containers with the bare necessities inside of them.
The last objection being raised in Qatar is the idea that homosexuality is still criminalised in the country. With several players having come out prior to the tournament, many have wondered about what will happen to them and, most importantly, their potential families should they choose to accompany them.
These two latter considerations have prompted many royals from around the world, including, most notably, the Prince of Wales, to opt against travelling to Qatar to support their teams in hopes of sending a strong signal.