Qatar Cuts Planned Payments to “Fan Leader Network” Members

This comes on the heels of the "no beer at stadiums" decision

A giant football graphic smashing the glass of a building in West Bay, Doha ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Turns out fans expecting to be able to drink beer at this year’s World Cup aren’t the only visitors to Qatar getting an unpleasant surprise before the tournament has even started. Earlier this month, Tariq Panja at The New York Times broke the news that Qatar had offered an enticing deal to some. Panja wrote that this included free travel and accommodations “and even a bit of spending money.” The catch: they’d have to behave according to the terms of a contract, which included informing on their compatriots who were critical of the host nation.

The news led to responses from a host of supporters’ groups, including the U.S.-based American Outlaws.

Now, though, the story has taken another twist. Remember those payments that people signing on were supposed to get for snitching on their fellow supporters? Apparently they’re not happening any more.

As Paul MacInnes reported for The Guardian, Qatar had initially planned to give paid attendees as part of this program, known as the Fan Leader Network, a per diem to cover meals. But now, just like the prospect of beer stands at World Cup stadiums, those payments have been nixed.

The article goes on to quote from a message that Fan Leader Network members received, stating that “the daily allowance will unfortunately no longer be issued. The allowance was intended as a small uplift on your own personal funds to assist with refreshments during your stay.”

Given the rapid backtracking on Qatar’s part on both this and the beer-in-stadiums question, it’s led to even greater concern over what actions might be next. Given Qatar’s record when it comes to human rights and the country’s apparent willingness to pull an about-face on some previously held positions, this all feels especially worrisome.

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