Revisiting 6 Non-Football Highlights That Sparked Attention At FIFA WC

FIFA World Cup Highlights
The most-anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup came to an end on Sunday after a month of great football matches, a massive display of team spirit and other amazement that came along as the world was glued to the screens cheering for their favourite teams and players. While some nerve-wracking matches took place across the past month, the world cup was also clouded by a series of good surprises and unexpected controversies that garnered separate attention.

With Argentina registering a goosebumps-generating win at the finals, let’s look at some of the non-football glorious moments and some controversial instances surrounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Suggested reading: FIFA’s Mirage Of Unity: Why World Cup Is Vessel For Political Protest

Non-Football FIFA World Cup Highlights

1. Deepika Padukone unveils the World Cup Trophy 

Actor-producer Deepika Padukone added another jewel to her crown when she unveiled this year’s FIFA World Cup trophy before the finale. The visuals of Padukone standing on the ground and unveiling the golden trophy alongside former goalkeeper of Spain Iker Casillas were inspiring in more ways than one. Padukone, who is perhaps the only global actor to do this in the history of FIFA world cups, received great applause from the audience in attendance.

2. The Qatar regime against LGBTQIA+ rights 

Qatar’s policies around the LGBTQIA+ community clouded the tournament long before it began in November when the representation from Qatar made some homophobic remarks on national television. While FIFA declared that all team players and fans attending the tournament will have to abide by the local laws, a few European teams attempted to subtly protest against the regime and show solidarity in pride. The teams of England, Netherlands and Germany were planning on sporting rainbow armbands that read ‘one love’, however, FIFA warned the captains of each team to abide by the Qatari laws and not go ahead with their protest.

Another controversy that occurred during the tournament was when Soccer journalist Grant Wahl declared via social media that he was stopped from entering one of the games since he was sporting a rainbow t-shirt. Wahl, however, changed into a different tee and attended the game. Unfortunately, he died a few days later owing to a heart attack during one of his coverages.

3. Iran made a powerful statement through their silence

Iran uprising, Iran team refuses singing national anthem

Iran Football Team, FIFA 2022, Qatar

The Iranian team displayed a show of support to its people back home when they decided to silently protest against the oppressive regimes being forced upon citizens in Iran. As the battle between the Iranian people and its authoritative government continues to rise amid executions, Iran’s national football team made a statement that will be remembered forever. In their match against team England, the Iranian footballers chose to remain silent as their national anthem played before the game kickstarted. While the team boldly chose their stand, the fans in the audience applauded them while waving their flags. 

4. When Ecuador Fans chanted “We want beer”

In a piece of slightly lighter news, there was a day when the fans at the stadium did not chant their team’s name. They rather called out on another top priority of that moment – beer. While Qatar had previously announced that they would allow the sale of beer outside the stadium, they pulled back their decision and the beer-loving football fans faced disappointment when they reached the stadium. During the opening match between Ecuador and home team Qatar, the visiting team’s fans chanted ‘we want beer’ loud and clear for a long time. Well, no one came to serve them beer but they sure created an environment to kickstart the world cup.

5. The controversy around the ill-treatment of migrant workers from Asia 

This controversy began months before the world cup took off. The lavish and supreme stadium in the Arab nation made headlines because of its magnificent design months prior to the opening game. While several people appreciated the effort Qatar took in setting up the unbelievable infrastructure, it was pointed out to several others that the entire architecture was a result of years of hard work and sweat invested by the migrant workers who travelled to Qatar from South Asian counties in search of livelihoods. We cannot forget that the largest sporting tournament that became the talk of the entire world was reportedly a result of the heavy exploitation of these workers. Several Human Rights groups expressed their frustrations over the plight of these construction workers and pleaded with the Qatari government to compensate them and those families who lost their dear ones in the process. It’s believed that several workers lost their lives during the construction of the stadium and buildings in lieu of the world cup. The global backlash has now brought this specific issue to grab national headlines, and thousands of social media users have been writing in support of the workers who have clearly not been dealt with a fair share in the end.

6. Nora Fatehi becomes the first artist from India to perform at FIFA 

Nora Fatehi Fifa World Cup Performance

Nora Fatehi at Fifa World Cup | Photo credit: Instagram

Nora Fatehi is not just the talk of the country but the world. Fatehi, who was invited to perform at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, swayed the audience with her live set which several fans termed one of the best FIFA performances to date. She took to the stage at the FIFA Fan Fest at Al Bidda Park in Doha and became the first artist from India to perform at the one of world’s most popular sporting tournaments.