Amid widespread criticism and calls for boycott, the much awaited FIFA World Cup 2022 kick started on Sunday, November 20 with a grand opening ceremony at Al Bayt stadium in Qatar. The event, which saw participation from legendary actor Morgan Freeman and Jung Kook from Korean supergroup BTS, “showcased Qatari culture and heritage while highlighting football’s ability to unite people from different countries and cultures.” In this backdrop, the football fans across the world shared a video claiming to show the fireworks at the opening ceremony of the tournament.
The one-minute-twenty two-second-long-video displaying splendid and vibrant fireworks is going viral on Twitter. Several news outlets shared the footage claiming to show the fireworks at the opening ceremony of FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
Indian news websites the Economic Times and Money Control also featured a tweet carrying the viral video while reporting on fireworks at the Qatari stadium during the inauguration of the football tournament.
The footage is also going viral on Facebook.
Several people worldwide have given a call to boycott the FIFA tournament in Qatar, to highlight the issues related to democracy, the rights of migrant workers, the LGBT+ community, and women in the middle eastern country. People are also concerned about the environmental effects of holding a competition in air-conditioned stadiums.
We began our investigation by looking up keywords “FIFA, “ “Qatar” & “Fireworks” on Twitter, and found a tweet by @chandra_avdhesh, dated November 18, 2022. Displaying the viral video, the post stated, “FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Fireworks Opening.”
Newschecker spotted several other tweets from November 18 and November 19 carrying the viral clip, leading us to conclude that the video claiming to show fireworks at the FIFA World Cup 2022 opening ceremony, was in fact circulating on digital platforms days before the inauguration of the tournament took place in Qatar on November 20.
Continuing our investigation, we carefully analysed the viral video claiming to show the visuals of fireworks at the opening ceremony of FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
We conducted a frame-by-frame examination of the footage. We observed that the firecrackers seen in the footage vanish immediately from the screen, without leaving any trail of smoke. The clarity of patterns formed by the firecrackers does not appear to be natural either.
Around 43 seconds into the clip, we spotted blue-coloured fireworks emerging out of nowhere moving across the screen.
Thirdly, the iconic tent-like structure covering the Al Bayt Stadium, where the opening ceremony took place, cannot be seen in the viral video.
Additionally, though the first few frames do appear to be from an actual event, as the video progresses one could easily make out that it is a work of animation and not a real-life firecracker show.
Further, we noticed “From Fireshow Michael Lee” watermarked on the viral video. Taking a clue, we conducted a keyword search for, “Michael Lee, “ Fireshow,” & “FIFA” which led us to a YouTube video dated November 15, 2022 titled ‘FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Fireworks Opening‘ – identical to the viral footage.
Posted by one Michael Lee, the description of the YouTube video read, ‘Its just for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Fireworks Opening Ceremony. (sic)’
The YouTube channel with a description merely saying, “We are the TEAM from China,” featured several firework videos and related content. Though the links shared for Facebook profile led to a rather dormant account – no posts to be seen, Lee’s Twitter account (@Pyromusicals) has over 1.7k followers, and posts content quite frequently.
The most recent post from November 15, 2022, carried the viral video along with the caption “Its just for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Fireworks Opening (sic)”
We further spotted a tweet by @Pyromusicals from 15th November, announcing an upcoming video. The frames of the video being edited in the video editing software shared by @Pyromusicals and the viral video bore several resemblances. This helps us conclude that the video was edited using a video editing software.
Newschecker could not independently verify whether @Pyromusicals was tasked with organising the firework display at the inauguration ceremony of FIFA 2022.
Newschecker reached out to Michael lee who confirmed to us that it is an animated video. He told us over Twitter, “Its just animated, not real (sic).”
We could thus confirm that the viral footage is an animated video, predating the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
The video footage of the actual fireworks display can be seen here.
Viral posts claiming to show visuals of fireworks at the recently held opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2022 are false.
If you would like us to fact-check a claim, give feedback, or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044 or email us at [email protected]. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill out the form.