Fans paid by Qatar to attend the World Cup have their daily allowance canceled | World Cup 2022

Fans who have traveled to Qatar as part of a controversial paid supporter program have been told by Qatari authorities that their money has been cut.

The Fan Leader Network is a program of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the Qatari agency responsible for the World Cup. It has recruited supporters from all over the world and is offering travel, accommodation and a seat at the World Cup opening ceremony in return for enthusiasm and positive social media content. But The Guardian can reveal that a daily allowance for food and drink, which some supporters depended on, was canceled just as fans packed up to travel to the Gulf.

Members of the Fan Leader Network from two European countries said their payments were canceled three days ago and authorities attributed the decision to the bad press that followed the revelation that fans were being paid.

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This is a World Cup like no other. For the past 12 years, The Guardian has covered the issues surrounding Qatar 2022, from corruption and human rights violations to the treatment of migrant workers and discriminatory laws. The best of our journalism has been collected on our dedicated Qatar: Beyond the Football homepage for those who want to dig deeper into the issues off the pitch.

Guardian reporting goes far beyond what happens on the field. Support our investigative journalism today.

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Fans were told in a message seen by The Guardian: “Due to recent media developments, we are keen to protect our visiting fans from the misinformed statements about ‘fans receiving payment for travel’. Accordingly, the daily allowance is unfortunately no longer provided. The allowance was intended as a small increase from your own personal funds to assist with refreshments during your stay.

While the fans The Guardian spoke to said the loss of money hadn’t deterred anyone from travelling, they were worried about how they would pay for the rest of their stay. One fan said they paid for their car to be serviced assuming the daily allowance would come.

The email sent to members of the network said: “We have asked from the outset to bring enough money to support yourself and we have committed to cover flights, accommodation and opening match tickets. “

The news comes two days before the opening ceremony and follows an announcement by FIFA that it would no longer be possible to buy alcohol in World Cup stadiums. This was a decision widely believed to have been forced on football’s governing body by Qatar at the last minute.

Concerns will now mount that further commitments from the organizers could also be ignored, including the safety of LGBTQ+ fans in a country where homosexuality is illegal.

Under the terms and conditions of the Fan Leader Network, initially published by Dutch broadcaster NOS, travelers have been asked to promote the tournament and the experience as part of the trip. Key to the deal is “liking and re-sharing third-party posts,” and fans have reportedly been asked to flag social media content critical of the event.

One of the fans The Guardian spoke to understood that this arrangement was something that could be easily achieved simply by posting the kind of material they would have made anyway.

Football Supporters Europe Executive Director Ronan Evain said: “Who would have thought that an authoritarian regime with an appalling record on workers’ rights could not be trusted? I suppose that’s what you’ll get if you accept that every four days you’ll be paid the equivalent of a Qatari minimum wage per month for the pleasure of doing absolutely nothing.”

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has been approached for comment.

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