Watch: ‘Yma o Hyd’ played at World Cup opening ceremony
Wales’ World Cup anthem ‘Yma o Hyd’ was played at the World Cup opening ceremony in Qatar.
The Dafydd Iwan song was played a quarter of an hour into the ceremony as the flags and football shirts of all the competing nations were taken out onto the pitch at the Al Bayt stadium in Doha.
The organisers played a snippet from a song from every competing nation, finishing with a few bars of ‘Yma o Hyd’ sung by a choir.
The BBC and ITV decided not to show the World Cup opening ceremony on TV, with the broadcast focusing on Qatar’s human rights record. Neither was the moment included in a BBC highlight reel of the opening ceremony later published online.
The performance was however broadcast in many nations worldwide and recorded by some in the stadium itself.
They did a chant from every country England got Don’t Take Me Home and I thought that was us covered, but they ended with Yma o Hyd. pic.twitter.com/meueSnxMhZ
— Robert Lloyd (@ClwydEnComu) November 20, 2022
Qatar’s welcome to the world had an international flavour, featuring Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman and K-pop star Jung Kook from BTS.
The country’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, declared the tournament open.
The hope of Infantino and the local organisers is that once the first ball rolls, the political debate will quieten, if not stop entirely.
But despite all the talk of inclusion in this ceremony, in a stadium modelled on a nomad’s tent, it was one in which the LGBTQ+ community for one does not feel welcome.
Kick It Out’s Qatar working group says despite repeated requests, proper reassurances over safety have not been given and LGBTQ+ fans have largely stayed away from a country that criminalises same-sex relationships.
Other LGBTQ+ groups have indicated they are staying away to protect the community within Qatar, who Human Rights Watch says are targeted by the authorities – something the government strongly deny.
The plight of the migrant workers who helped build Qatar’s infrastructure has also been highlighted frequently in the run-in to this tournament and has been too much for some to swallow.
Right up to the opening day the finals have featured controversial moments. Even this week, questions have been raised over where the power lies at this tournament after FIFA sponsors Budweiser were barred from selling beer within the stadium perimeters.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who insists he is “200 per cent in control” of these finals, launched an extraordinary defence of Qatar on Saturday, accusing Europe of hypocrisy over its criticism of the Middle East state.
His view is that football’s soft power can accelerate change and that it has done in Qatar, an indication that it is entirely possible countries with similar human rights records to Qatar could host a World Cup in the future.
Human rights criteria can and will be applied, but they will only be a factor for FIFA’s 211 member associations to consider, with Saudi Arabia reportedly keen to co-host in 2030.
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