Tuesday, 21 Mar 2023

Qatar Officials Offer to Pay for Flights, Lodging for Some World Cup Fans

The country is seeking individuals who will share positive experiences from the event on social media.

Qatar Officials Offer to Pay for Flights, Lodging for Some World Cup Fans

Tourism officials in Qatar, site of the 2022 World Cup that kicks off later this month, are offering up a unique deal for some fans of soccer's quadrennial championship tournament.

And all it will cost those supporters is a few clicks on a keyboard.

Organizers of the event are promising to pay the airfare and hotel costs for some groups in exchange for positive public relations in the form of comments on social media sites, according to Reuters.

The tiny country is the first Middle East nation to host what is arguably the biggest global sporting event, a month-long celebration of the sport of soccer that will eventually determine which country owns the right to be called the greatest team in the world for the next four years.

Billions of people watch the tournament over four weeks. FIFA, soccer's worldwide governing body and the official host of the tournament, estimated that as many as one billion people watched the 2018 World Cup championship match between France and Croatia, easily the most-viewed television program in history.

So, all eyes are on Qatar. But so are the eyes of scrutiny. Since being named the World Cup host a dozen years ago, Qatar has faced allegations of human rights violations, particularly in a scathing ESPN report in 2014 on the treatment and conditions of workers building the stadiums that will host the games.

With that backdrop and context, now the deal for free flights and lodging in exchange for positive reviews doesn't seem so unlikely.

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