It’s not unknown that the FIFA World Cup, which is due to kick off tomorrow in Qatar, is regarded as one of the most controversial tournaments in the competition's history.
But the latest controversy to hit the football community is in regards the fans who were paid to attend the Qatar World Cup, as it has been reported they will no longer be receiving any money at all for their role in helping to ‘create a buzz’ at the event.
The Fan Leader Network, a scheme which is overseen by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, a Qatari agency which is also running the World Cup, hired supporters for the event.
Qatar is eager to show it can successfully host the World Cup, and officials were previously accused of paying people to pretend to be fans ahead of the tournament, especially now that footage of the so-called 'fake fans' is circulating online.
But now, fans who have travelled to Qatar to take part in the controversial paid-for supporters' programme have been notified by officials that their ‘daily payments have been cancelled’.
The fans, who were headhunted from all corners of the world, were offered travel, accommodation, a spot during the opening ceremony and a daily allowance towards food and drink in exchange for a positive response both in-person at the ceremony and online.
However, the payments were cancelled prior to the fans heading to the country, with some fans revealing how they were dependent on the cash.
The Guardian has revealed that fans were informed by the scheme organisers in an email of the sudden payment cancellation, in which it read: “Due to the recent developments in the media, we are keen to protect our visiting fans from the erroneous misinformed statements regarding ‘fans receiving payment for the trip’.
“Accordingly, 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.”
The email added: “We requested from the outset that you brought sufficient funds to cover your own living expenses and we have committed to cover flights, accommodation and opening match tickets."
While the outlet stated that none of the fans they were in touch with decided to turn away from the event by the news, they were worried about the expense of the rest of their trip.
One member of the network even told the publication that they paid for maintenance on their vehicle under the premise that the money would soon reach their account.
LADbible has contacted a representative of FIFA and the Fan Leader Network for a comment.
Featured Image Credit: TikTok/@qatarliving