Ode to the Football World Cup strikes a chord with followers

With its melodious rhythm and merry tempo, a song by the Indian expatriates’ collective supporting the Football World Cup 2022 is striking a chord with followers while highlighting Qatar’s legacy. Titled Hakk Hayya, the Malayalam song was unconfined on YouTube on August 12 to mark the start of the 100 days countdown.

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Ode to the Football World Cup strikes a chord with followers
Ode to the Football World Cup strikes a chord with followers

The music video, accessible at youtube.com, features Qatar’s arrangements for the mega event and the iconic locations across Qatar with supplementary visuals of fans’ jubilation, unforgettable moments of previous Football World Cups, and football stars.

“The album is a tribute positively and creatively to Qatar, while the country is all set to host the Football World Cup. Through the album, we try to take part in the promotions while promoting our bit to make the event a big success story. We have tried to depict the history, the present, and the future of Qatar and football,” lyricist Sreevalsan G told Gulf Times Community.

The album is produced by members of the Friends of Angamaly Qatar in cooperation with Argentina and Brazil followers along with other ex-pat collectives. Sreevalsan conceptualized the original idea and split it with his friends at ANRIA before this year. Famous Malayalam playback singer Anwar Sadath is the lead singer. Background score and mixing were carried out by Arun Kumaran and videography by Sinu S Nair and Tushar while Shafeek XDC staged choreography.

“The song is a combination of Malayalam and Arabic music. For the song part, we were the Malayalam style while the chorus part was written in Arabic style. The lines lend a definite feel while reverberating the jubilation and cheer of fans,” music director Collins Thomas told.

Filming and studio work began in July. Some parts were shot in Qatar but some locations in Kerala were picked. Starting with a head-to-head between Argentina and Brazil followers, the album includes dances and shouting at various locations in Qatar including the Football World Cup Countdown Clock, the Corniche, Souq Waqif, and various Football World Cup stadiums, and Hamad International Airport.

Sreevalsan told the album reflects the eagerness of the Indian community and football followers. “All were keen to take part in the album. Cooperatives of football followers and artists agreed to participate while doing the pre and postproduction works and playing in front of the camera,” he stated.

Ode to the Football World Cup strikes a chord with followers
Ode to the Football World Cup strikes a chord with followers

Sreevalsan’s wife Ajitha Sreevalsan and daughter Amrita Sree include in the album. There are plans to add titles in English and Arabic to the video, the lyricist added.

Controversies surrounding the Football World Cup 2022

The footballing world is set for another Football World Cup this year after four long years. Football World Cups are arguably the greatest sporting events in the world and the essence of world football. However, the biggest football contest this time has come under scrutiny and criticism. Debates have been nearby the event since Qatar won the bid for the event in 2010.

Football World Cup: Bribery allegations in hosting selection procedure

Before the 2010 FIFA World Cup, FIFA commenced the process of selecting hosts for 2018 and 2022. For the 2018 World Cup bid, all non-UEFA nations withdrew their bid after a mutual agreement between nations. Thus, no UEFA nations were bidding for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, and the United States were in the running.

Serious allegations of bribery were made against FIFA as Qatar won the bid comprehensively in 2010. Phaedra Almajid, a whistleblower, claimed African officials took $1.5 million in bribes to vote for Qatar. Despite the denials of all officials, several more allegations in 2014 substantiated his claims.

Ode to the Football World Cup strikes a chord with followers
Ode to the Football World Cup strikes a chord with followers

In 2014, Jack Warner, who was FIFA’s vice-president during the bidding process, received a $2 million dividend from a company linked to Qatar’s bid for the World Cup. Some more serious questions were also occasionally raised by large media outlets. Worldwide Tickets and Hospitality offers Football World Cup tickets for the Qatar Football World Cup at the best prices. Football fanatics and buy Football World Cup Tickets at exclusively discounted prices.

The Sunday Times revelations and sting investigation 

The Sunday Times, a UK-based news outlet, has made numerous revelations on a variety of topics which have led to serious allegations being made. They reported in 2015 that Bin Hammam, the then President of the AFC, had bribed FIFA officials with $5 million and even contracted a former CIA agent to spy on FIFA officials.

Furthermore, they revealed that Qatar’s Al-Jazeera news channel struck a secret agreement with FIFA one month before the bidding process for hosting rights began. According to the contract, Al-Jazeera will broadcast the 2022 World Cup and will pay $400 million for the rights. Out of this, $100 million will only be paid if Qatar hosts the tournament. Moreover, Al Jazeera promised $480 million to FIFA from Qatar’s government as part of the hosting agreement.

Qatar’s credentials questioned 

As soon as Qatar’s name was announced as the host, the whole football fraternity reacted lacklustre. Qatar was ranked 113 when they won the hosting rights and had never won a continental tournament. This would be the first World Cup hosted by a nation that has never qualified for the competition. 

Ode to the Football World Cup strikes a chord with followers
Ode to the Football World Cup strikes a chord with followers

Playing conditions in Qatar also isn’t favorable. The Middle East is one of the most humid regions in the world, and footballers will have a tough time dealing with the heat there. The tournament set to be held in November will witness a significantly higher average temperature. The WC will also affect the normal club football cycle in Europe.

Human Rights violation

Several controversies have surrounded the 2022 FIFA World Cup so far, but the most serious and sensitive is Qatar’s alleged open violation of workers’ rights. According to reports and some eyewitnesses, many workers have been enslaved by the Qatari government under the ‘Kafala System’ for building their infrastructure for the mega event.

The government of Qatar has denied such allegations. Some investigations by media outlets and organizations have revealed that workers have been exploited and kept as prisoners without any contact with the rest of the world. Moreover, even the Nepalese ambassador in Qatar commented on the situation, describing it as an ‘Open Jail’ for workers.

Football fans, former players, and current players have all expressed strong opinions regarding the ongoing human rights violations in Qatar. Teams like Netherlands, Germany, and Norway wore human rights t-shirts during World Cup qualifiers, protesting Qatar’s horrendous treatment of workers.

Ode to the Football World Cup strikes a chord with followers
Ode to the Football World Cup strikes a chord with followers

Ex-players like Philipp Lahm have openly called out the authorities in interviews. Lahm recently said, “Human rights should play the biggest role in the awarding of a tournament. If a country is awarded the contract that is one of the worst performers in this regard, you start to think about the criteria used to make the decision. That shouldn’t happen again in the future. Human rights, sustainability, the size of the country… none of that seems to have played a role.”

The tournament is likely to go forward as planned, but the controversies surrounding the event will be remembered for years to come. Fans are excited for the tournament, as it might be the last opportunity to see many great players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and several others in an international event. But the dark side of the tournament can’t be neglected as well.

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