Qatar paying Dutch fans to attend World Cup, post praise on social media: Report
Qatar will pay 50 Dutch fans to travel to the World Cup and make positive posts on social media, which will then be used for marketing purposes. Supporters say it is unusual for an organizing country to strike such a deal with “ordinary” fans, according to broadcaster NOS.
The participating fans are expected to stick to a social media code of conduct, which stipulates that they make positive posts about the games, report third parties’ “offensive” posts and be present at the first World Cup match and opening ceremony, as well as the Qatar-Netherlands match. Any posts that do not meet the code of conduct can be taken down.
In return, Qatar will pay for their flights and accommodation. "The accommodations are just way too expensive, we as regular fans can't afford that,” one supporter told the NOS. The funding from Qatar was therefore a large incentive.
"The camera will zoom in on our orange-clad group at the opening," Leon van der Wilk, coordinator of the Dutch supporters' trip, told the NOS. "In addition, we will regularly appear on squares in our orange shirts and we are participating in the supporters' World Cup, in which fans play five against five."
Such a contract is common for former football players or influencers, but highly unusual for ordinary fans, supporters told the NOS. The participating fans said they were aware of Qatar’s human rights abuses, which have drawn criticism from human rights groups.
"Of course it is a dilemma whether you should hold a World Cup in these kinds of countries, but this choice was simply made in 2010," Van der Wijk said. "I personally think that sport and politics should remain separate. That is why we will simply go there as fans."
The World Cup in Qatar has been a source of controversy in the Netherlands because rights groups estimate that thousands of migrant workers died during construction for the event. Dutch sports and news broadcasts about the event will highlight the country’s human rights situation, as well as the matches.
Some fans told the NOS that they were attending the games, but did not accept Qatar’s deal.
"The temptation to accept it was great,” Oranhe supporter Paul Hirschel said. “You get a free flight and accommodation and you can go to the opening match. But the fact that we had to sign a document with all kinds of obligations and restrictions was the last straw for us. That would really make us a poster child for Qatar. We don't want that."