The 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup is arguably the most controversial ever to be held. The location and the time have caused controversy, as well as (mostly Western) backlash against the culture of the host nation, Qatar. However, while much of the world has been up in arms about the Qatari selection, the hosts themselves have promised that the tournament will be a hugely enjoyable experience.
So far, the reports have shown people arriving at the tournament mostly in good spirits. Welcome parties and grandiose, lavish events are being held as the various teams arrive in Qatar for the showpiece soccer event of the year. However, not everything is going to plan.
One nation that is taking part, Denmark, have been extremely vocal in their opinion on the host nation. They have been one of the few nations to take actions that look to shine a light on potential human rights abuses taking place within the nation. This has led to a somewhat frosty reception for the Danes from the hosts, but an incident that has taken place this week has caused a lot of consternation both in Denmark and back home.
Journalists from the Danish TV channel, TV2, were out in the streets of Doha doing a live broadcast. As they continued to talk about the upcoming tournament, a team of officials turned up and threatened to smash their camera equipment. The unedifying scene was caught on TV, and the reporter in question, Rasmus Tantholdt, stood his ground. As the officials arrive on an electric cart and try to block the camera lens, Tantholdt is heard saying: “You invited the whole world to come here, why can’t we film? It’s a public place. You can break the camera, you want to break it? You are threatening us by smashing the camera?”
The incident, taking place just five days before the tournament begins, was a low point for the hosts as they look to build an image of a safe, modern, and welcoming sports event. The organisers have spoken to the Tantholdt, they say, and also have suggested they have told officials to “respect the filming permits in place” that have been taken out by media teams.
The Danish national team will be wearing shirts with a toned-down badge and logo of the manufacturer, Hummel. This will be used to try and raise awareness of labour rights within Qatar. They have also brought a third kit, a black shirt, which will be worn in solidarity and “in mourning” with the migrant workers who have died building stadia for the showpiece event.