Rod Stewart has revealed that he turned down almost £1million to perform as part of the Qatar World Cup, because “it’s not right”.
The tournament kicks off this Sunday (November 20) in the capital city of Doha, and Qatar and World Cup organisers FIFA are facing ongoing criticisms regarding the death of migrant workers in the creation of stadiums and the country’s views on homosexuality, which is illegal in Qatar.
After Dua Lipa denied rumours that she was to perform at the opening ceremony and called on Qatar to “fulfil all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host the World Cup,” Stewart has revealed that he also turned down the opportunity to be a part of the celebrations for moral reasons.
“I was actually offered a lot of money, over $1m, to play there 15 months ago,” Stewart told The Sunday Times.
“I turned it down,” he revealed. “It’s not right to go. And the Iranians should be out too for supplying arms.”
England manager Gareth Southgate has promised that his players will speak out about human rights abuses during the tournament. “We have always spoken about issues we think should be talked about, particularly the ones we feel we can affect.”
“Regarding the LGBT community, we stand for inclusivity and we are very, very strong on that. We think that is important in terms of all our supporters,” he added.
Elsewhere, Joe Lycett has urged David Beckham to end his partnership with the upcoming World Cup. Lycett criticised Beckham for his reported £10million sponsorship deal with Qatar and offered to donate £10,000 of his own money to queer charities if Beckham ended the sponsorship before the tournament started.
One artist who will be performing at the opening ceremony is BTS‘ Jungkook, who confirmed his participation in Sunday’s ceremony last week.