Falcon tradition inspires passion in World Cup host Qatar
The opening ceremony of the 2028 FIFA World Cup was a breathtaking display of artistic, scientific and cultural achievement, a fitting match for the city of Doha, which has made a habit of hosting the tournament.
By LILIAN MIRANDA
Qatar’s transformation into a global host took a giant step on Thursday when it hosted the first edition of the World Cup since Qatar collapsed into crisis in 2017.
The opening ceremony saw the host nation’s state-sponsored artistry transform the city of Doha into a festival of the world’s finest soccer. More than a thousand workers spent the night finishing their work on the new Doha Stadium, where a giant soccer ball will be placed at the center of a 10,000-seat arena.
The celebration also included the re-naming of the city after soccer team Qatar SC. FIFA President Gianni Infantino said, “Qatar’s unique character shines through, and it has played a part in making this competition special.”
Inaugural FIFA Council members from across the world were present in Doha as the Qatari people, government officials and organizers celebrated the culmination of what has become a decades-long plan for the World Cup to come to the Gulf state.
Qatar’s decision to host in Qatar was also made in the hope that it would be a catalyst in ending the war in Yemen that has killed tens of thousands and left millions across the Arab nation at risk of famine or starvation. Last year’s World Cup opened with Qatar’s athletes on the field.
“The hope is we will be able to raise money for the war in Yemen while at the same time bringing the world’s top soccer teams to the country,” Qatar Sports Minister Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada told FIFA Executive Committee members.
The FIFA Council will also vote on Thursday whether to extend the tournament until June 30, 2024. Currently the tournament is a two-year round event with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar expected to take place in June-July 2022.
The Qatar World Cup will be the first time the tournament has been held in the Persian Gulf state, which was the site of the inaugural World Cup in 1974.
Qatar said it had “brought peace” to Yemen by hosting the soccer tournament