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Music stars under pressure as Qatar World Cup approaches

By | Published on Monday 14 November 2022


As football stars involved in the upcoming World Cup in Qatar face continued criticism because of the country’s human rights record, musicians set to perform during the opening ceremony next weekend – or as part of a series of concerts taking place alongside all the football playing – are also coming under fire.

This weekend it was confirmed that Jungkook from BTS will be among those appearing at the opening ceremony. His label Big Hit Music stated that it was “proud to announce that Jungkook is part of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Soundtrack and will perform at the World Cup opening ceremony. Stay tuned!”

BTS fans responding to the news on social media were split, with some excited about his involvement in the big sporting event, but others concerned that that involvement endorses a country that has been repeatedly criticised for human rights violations.

Among other things, Qatar has faced strong criticism over its the treatment of migrant workers in the country, with a report earlier this year estimating that more than 6000 migrant workers have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup ten years ago.

Meanwhile, homosexuality remains illegal in the Middle Eastern country and anyone found participating in same-sex sexual activity can be punished by up to seven years in prison.

While various high profile football and music stars have so far resisted calls to boycott the Qatar World Cup, those stars will find themselves under pressure during the tournament itself to publicly criticise the host country’s human rights violations.

Meanwhile, this weekend Dua Lipa took to social media to deny that she will be performing in Qatar during the World Cup. The musician posted on Instagram following reports that she would be appearing at this weekend’s opening ceremony.

She stated: “There is currently a lot of speculation that I will be performing at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar. I will not be performing and nor have I ever been involved in any negotiation to perform. I will be cheering England on from afar”.

She then added: “I look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host the World Cup”.