World Cup 2022 opening ceremony: when is Qatar ceremony, who will perform, how to watch

BTS star will feature at opening ceremony of Qatar World Cup 2022. The official tournament anthem and mascot will feature ahead of opening fixture

The 2022 Qatar World Cup is now upon us and the opening fixture will see the host nation take on Ecuador.

The ceremony had initially been scheduled to take place on Monday 21 November but was brought forward, along with the opening fixture. This change is so the tradition of either the hosts or defending champions featuring in the first game can continue.

Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup has come under intense scrutiny due to their reported human rights violations and it is expected that several teams will use their platforms at the tournament to make statements in support of LGBTQ+ rights. England are one such country who will feature the LGBTQ+ flag on their kit while Australia’s national team released a video last month voicing their concerns pertaining to both the migrant workers’ rights and the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

Here is all you need to know about the opening ceremony in Qatar...

When is the World Cup opening ceremony?

The opening ceremony will take place on Sunday 20 November 2022 ahead of Qatar’s opening match against Ecuador which will begin later the same day. The ceremony is expected to start at 2pm GMT while the match is scheduled to kick-off at 4pm GMT.

Where is the World Cup opening ceremony?

Al Bayt Stadium will host the ceremony. The 60,000 seater stadium is located in Al Khor, about 35km north of Doha and was one of seven stadiums built for the tournament. It was opened in November 2021 and hosted the first match of the 2021 Arab Cup between Qatar and Bahrain.

What will be involved in the opening ceremony?

No details have been announced for the ceremony but musical performances and visual displays are highly likely along with the tournament’s official anthem being played. The tournament’s mascot, La’eeb, will also make an appearance.

Qatar World Cup mascot La’eeb on a building in Doha

La’eeb, which translates to highly skilled-player, isnot meant to have a fixed anthropomorphic identitiy, according to the marketing team who created it. But an announcement by FIFA said: “La’eeb is a fun and mischievous character who comes from the mascot-verse, a parallel world where all tournament mascots live. La’eeb can be a figment of your imagination. He is whoever a football fan wants him to be.”

Who will be performing at the World Cup opening ceremony?

The full lineup is yet to be confirmed by FIFA but BTS singer Jungkook and Robbie Williams are both set to perform. The former Take That star also performed at the last World Cup opening ceremony in Russia and has now come under criticism for agreeing to participate in the ceremony in a country where homosexuality is illegal.

The Canadian actress, Nora Fatehi, who is best known for her work in the Indian Film industry, is expected to sing the official anthem of the tournament: Light the Sky.

Rod Stewart recently turned down just under a reported £1million to perform at the ceremony. Stewart told The Sunday Times: “I was actually offered a lot of money, over $1m, to play there 15 months ago. I turned it down. It’s not right to go. And the Iranians should be out too for supplying arms.”

Dua Lipa also put down rumours that she would be performing. On Instagram, the English pop star posted: “There is currently a lot of speculation that I will be performing at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar. I will not be performing and nor have I ever been involved in any negotiation to perform. I will be cheering England on from afar...On love, Dua.”

How to watch the opening ceremony

The BBC will be broadcasting the opening ceremony along with the first match of the tournament. It can be also be streamed through BBC iPlayer. BBC and ITV are sharing the coverage of the tournament with BBC showing England’s first match against Iran on Monday 21 November at 1pm GMT.