FORTY Wales supporters were scheduled to be paid by Qatar’s government to attend the opening ceremony and “cheer and yell” on behalf of their nation, prompting worry from a fan organisation.
Fans who paid to go as part of the Fan Leader Program, according to Football Supporters Europe, risked serving as a “mouthpiece for the Supreme Committee” of Qatar.
According to the Times newspaper, Qatar is also paying for 40 England supporters to attend the World Cup.
According to the publication, rules included avoiding criticising the hosts and reporting any disrespectful, derogatory, or abusive remarks made by other fans.
““At best they’re volunteers for the World Cup and at worst they’re a mouthpiece for the Supreme Committee.” Football Supporters Europe executive director Ronan Evain told the publication.
The participants in the Fan Leader Program will receive free airfare, free apartment lodging, £60 in spending money per day, and free tickets in exchange for signing a “code of conduct” established with the World Cup organisers.
At the opening ceremony, they will then take a seat in groups and perform for the cameras at the opportune moments.
“In celebration of the fans around the world, over the period of five minutes, fan chants from each nation will be played and you will be expected to stand up, sing the song/chant, wave your flags and represent your country,” a document sent to the ‘Fan Leaders’ says.
“The camera will focus on each national fan group in turn. We will share with you the chant/song selected from your country to ensure you are familiar with it.
“Be ready in your shirt, flags and scarves to cheer and shout.”