A video, purportedly showing a group of children in traditional Arab attire reciting verses of the Quran inside a stadium, has gone viral with the claim that it is the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, scheduled to start from November 20, 2022.
Newchecker first checked to see when was the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup, which led us to multiple reports, along with Google’s homepage, stating that it will be held ahead of the opening Group A match between host Qatar and Ecuador on Sunday November 20. According to reports, the opening ceremony will be at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium, 40km north of Doha, and is scheduled to start from 7:30pm. The reports can be seen here, here, here and here.
We then ran a reverse image search of keyframes of the viral video, which brought us to this Instagram post, dated October 23, 2021, in Arabic. According to the translation, it was the opening of the Al-Thumama World Cup Stadium in Qatar.
Taking a cue from this, we ran a keyword search for “Al Thumama stadium opening”, which led us to multiple reports. According to a report in FIFA, dated October 23, 2021, the 40,000-capacity Al Thumama Stadium became the sixth tournament-ready venue for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after it was inaugurated ahead of the domestic Amir Cup Final. The stadium, designed to resemble the ‘ghafiya’ head cap worn by men and boys across the Arab world, was reportedly unveiled for the public before the final of the Amir Cup held on October 22, 2021, between Al Sadd and Al Rayyan.
We further came across this tweet by Doha News, dated October 24, 2021, which stated, “This is how Qatar incorporated its Islamic Culture at the inauguration of the World Cup Al Thumama stadium. Children were seen reciting verses on ‘mercy’ from the Quran.”
A comparison of key frames confirms that the viral clip is of the opening ceremony of the Al-Thumama World Cup stadium, inaugurated in October 2021. A similar video can be seen here.
Viral video claimed to be the opening ceremony of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is actually of a stadium’s inauguration the previous year.
Tweet by Doha News, October 24, 2021
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