Thousands take part in the Qatar World Cup Rally | sports



Thousands take part in the Qatar World Cup Rally

tThe homes of migrant workers, dressed in the colors of Argentina, Brazil and England, organized the World Cup rally in Doha on Friday, less than 10 days after the start of the tournament.

Fans of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Harry Kane swarmed Doha’s beach for a rally that normally wouldn’t have been allowed, according to an AFP journalist.

The fans mainly came from Kerala, a football stronghold in India which also accounts for a large portion of Qatar’s Indian migrant community of around 750,000 people. Qatar has a population of about 2.8 million people.

Legions attended the social media event and marched behind the drummers to the World Cup countdown clock overlooking the Gulf.

“The police were informed in advance and this is our day,” said the organizer, who requested anonymity.

Demonstrations and gatherings are rare in Qatar and usually face strict security measures, but the police watched the masses on Friday from a secret distance.

“The foreign workers in Qatar love football and have bought a lot of tickets,” the organizer added.

“This is the first World Cup in an Arab country but in many ways, this will be the first World Cup in South Asia.”

The fans wore the blue and white stripes of the yellow jerseys of Argentina and Brazil, bearing the names of Messi and Neymar, as well as Indian names.

They walked past the royal palace in Doha, where it is usually illegal to take a picture of the building.

Qatar has been under intense scrutiny over its treatment of foreign workers. Most of those who participated in the football rally refused to give their full names because they did not want their employers to find out.

“This is a day of joy for us,” said a man who gave his name as Rajesh. “There will be no politics, we will sing and cheer about football – especially Lionel Messi.”

“This is our freedom of expression,” said another man wearing a Messi shirt, who gave his name as Ago.

“Of course some of us have tough jobs, we hear the stories, but the World Cup is a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

Qatar residents were at the top of the list of tournament ticket buyers, with some as low-priced $10 tickets reserved for expatriate workers. India was also a major market for ticket sales.

The rally was held the next day because the United States became the first team to arrive in Qatar for the event, which begins on November 20.

“Seeing the players arrive in Doha, the coaches announcing their squads and the players reacting with such unbridled natural emotion…the football world is excited,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. France Press agency


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