Eagle Eye Sports24
Fans enrolled in a scheme in which they agreed to publicly promote and not “disparage” the World Cup in Qatar have been offered a free trip to watch the opening match of the tournament.
The “most active” of those to have signed up for the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy’s “Fan Leader Network” have been invited to nominate a small number of supporters to attend the match between the host nation and Ecuador.
The network of more than 450 fans from 59 countries was set up two years ago in an attempt to help shape the supporter experience during the tournament in the tiny Gulf state and those involved were given a forum to share privately any concerns they may have had.
They also had to sign a code of conduct agreeing to “support the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022″ and not to “disparage Qatar, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (or other relevant entities related to the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022) or the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022″.
In addition, they had to flag up any “offensive, degrading or abusive” comments made by others about social media content they posted on the tournament.
The code of conduct stressed fan leaders were not being asked to be “a mouthpiece for Qatar” and should be “clear and conspicuous” about their involvement in the scheme.
Some of those involved have already attended the finals draw, the Arab Cup and the Lusail Super Cup, with six of them recently meeting World Cup ambassador and former England captain David Beckham.
News they had been offered free flights, accommodation and tickets for the opening game comes at the culmination of a 12-year build-up to one of the most controversial events ever staged, which has been plagued by the death and abuse of migrant workers within Qatar and protests against the country’s anti-gay laws.
A spokesman for the Supreme Committee said: “The Fan Leader Network was set up to engage and communicate directly with football fans worldwide who may have an interest in learning more about the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022. It is an unpaid and voluntary role.”