‘It’s not right to go’: The artists who refused to perform at the Qatar World Cup

The World Cup will begin in Qatar this weekend (20 November), amid considerable controversy surrounding the host country.

Both Qatar and Fifa have been condemned by the Human Rights Watch over accusations that migrant workers were still paying exorbitant and illegal recruitment fees in the year before the event.

“The real legacy of this tournament will be how Fifa, Qatar, and anyone profiting from this World Cup left families of thousands of migrant workers indebted after they died and left many migrant workers who had their wages stolen uncompensated,” a spokesperson warned in October.

Campaigners and members of the LGBT+ community have also condemned the hosting of the event in a country where homosexuality is illegal.

Despite the controversy, a number of artists have agreed to perform in Qatar as part of the World Cup, including BTS star Jungkook. Other artists rumoured to be making appearances are Robbie Williams and the Black Eyed Peas.

Meanwhile, some artists have made a point of not playing the event. Here are the musicians who’ve spoken out against it.

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart says he turned down the opportunity to play in Qatar (Bongarts/Getty Images)
Rod Stewart says he turned down the opportunity to play in Qatar (Bongarts/Getty Images)

Rod Stewart revealed last week that he had previously turned down more than $1m (approximately £845,000) to play in Qatar.

Speaking in an interview with The Sunday Times, the rock singer said that he’d declined his invitation to play in the country in 2021.

“I was actually offered a lot of money, over $1m, to play there 15 months ago,” Stewart said. “I turned it down. It’s not right to go. And the Iranians should be out too for supplying arms.”

While Stewart did not appear to have been invited again, this time to perform at the World Cup, his comments were widely praised as a strong stance ahead of the event.

Shakira

A source close to Shakira says she was never going to play the event (Getty Images)
A source close to Shakira says she was never going to play the event (Getty Images)

A source cited as being close to Shakira said the singer was never in talks to play the at the forthcoming World Cup.

The singer was criticised after rumours emerged that she might be playing the event. Shakira performed at the tournament back in 2010, when it was held in South Africa.

However, the source told Metro.co.uk that she had never planned to play the event and that the speculation might have come from her being suggested as a possible performer by organisers.

Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa said she would not go to the country until it had ‘fulfilled all the human rights pledges’ (Getty Images)
Dua Lipa said she would not go to the country until it had ‘fulfilled all the human rights pledges’ (Getty Images)

Dua Lipa is another artist to have dismissed any speculation that she will perform at the opening ceremony of the World Cup.

The singer explained that she would not go to the country until it had “fulfilled all the human rights pledges” it made when it was awarded the right to host the tournament in December 2010.

“There is currently a lot of speculation that I will be performing at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar,” the 27-year-old singer wrote on Instagram.

“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 and I look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host.”

The Fifa World Cup will be taking place in Qatar between 20 November and 18 December. You can read more on the controversies surrounding the country as the tournament’s host here.