PARIS, France—Several global stars have refused to take part in the opening ceremony of the Qatar World Cup, and with two days to go, it is still not clear who will perform.
The most likely appearance is Jungkook of K-pop megastars BTS, who was rumored to have already arrived in Qatar on Friday.
Britain’s Robbie Williams, who performed at the last World Cup in Moscow, is also considered a likely participant.
But several musicians have made clear they will not perform, in protest at Doha’s human rights records, particularly with regard to LGBT rights.
The rock legend gave a definitive no to organizers.
Stewart told The Times that he was “offered a lot of money, over $1 million, to play there 15 months ago,” but that he turned them down.
“I refused. It’s not right to go,” the 77-year-old British singer said, adding that it was “respect for human rights in general” that had led to his decision.
The 27-year-old British star, who has a huge LGBT fanbase, had also been tipped for an appearance, but she shut down the rumors in a post to her 87 million Instagram followers.
“I will not be performing and have not been involved in any negotiations to perform in Qatar,” the “Levitating” singer wrote, adding that she would support England “from afar.”
“I look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host,” she added.
Another name that had been slated to perform was Shakira, who has been a regular at previous World Cups while married to Spanish footballer Gerard Pique.
She was the voice of the 2010 edition in South Africa, alongside local group Freshlyground, for the official theme “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” and performed four years later in Brazil.
But her team recently told Spanish news outlets that she would no longer be performing in Qatar, without giving a specific reason.
US rapper Lil Baby, who has 32 million monthly listens on Spotify, released one of the official sponsorship songs this year, “The World Is Yours to Take,” which samples the Tears for Fears classic “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”
But he has remained silent on whether he will actually make an appearance in Qatar. /ra
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