The 2022 World Cup begins in just a few days, but there has never been a more lukewarm reception from fans towards the sporting event. 

Held in Qatar, the Middle Eastern country has faced widespread criticism for myriad human rights issues, not least being the reported deaths of over 30 migrant workers who helped to build the stadiums.

That’s why, for the first time ever, a World Cup is struggling to attract the big-name artists to perform at the event. Take a look below at the musicians – and one comedian – taking a stand against the Qatar World Cup.

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Rod Stewart

He’s soon to be coming to Australia – with Cyndi Lauper – but the ageless British rocker won’t be in Qatar this month. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Rod insisted he turned down a huge sum to perform in the country last year.

“I was actually offered a lot of money, over $1m, to play there 15 months,” he told the publication. “I turned it down. It’s not right to go.” Stewart also claimed that the Iran team shouldn’t be allowed to play due to “supplying arms.’

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Dua Lipa

Arguably the biggest name to come out against the World Cup, the dance-pop star confirmed this week that she won’t be playing a concert at the event.

Dua issued a statement following a lot of rumours that she would in fact perform at the World Cup. “There is currently a lot of speculation that I will be performing at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar. I will not be performing… nor have I ever been involved in any negotiation to perform,” she said.

“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 World Cup,” she added.

Joe Lycett

The British funnyman is a big fan of David Beckham, but he’s far from happy at the Manchester United legend signed on as an ambassador for the upcoming World Cup.

In a video that went massively viral over the weekend, Lycett offered to donate $10,o00 to charities supporting the LGBTQ+ community if Beckham pulled out of his ambassadorial duties.

If he doesn’t, however, Lycett says he’ll shred the money in a livestream. With a cost of living crisis currently raging in Britain, Lycett’s well-meaning gesture has already drawn criticism.

The Cure

Robert Smith decided to use wry humour to reveal that the iconic goth rockers wouldn’t be performing at the World Cup.


As if to hammer home the point even further, he wrote the following in a further tweet: “AND I HAVE ALSO INFORMED GARETH SOUTHGATE I AM UNAVAILABLE FOR SELECTION.”

Mel C

Back in October, the Spice Girl spoke of her discomfort about showing supporting for the Qatar World Cup due to the country’s treatment of LGBTQ+ people.

It didn’t help that her good friend, David Beckham, is a major ambassador. “It’s difficult… David is a friend of mine, and everybody has to make their own choices,” she said at the time. According to Mel C, it’s “tricky” for sport to change culture when so much money is involved.


A World Cup all-star, Shakira won’t be returning for the Qatar edition. It was confirmed to Marca Magazine that the Colombian singer has withdrawn from the list of performers at the opening ceremony this weekend.

Shakira reportedly cited personal reasons for her withdrawal from the event.

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