Rod Stewart Says He Rejected Million-Dollar Offer To Perform At Qatar World Cup

"It’s not right to go," the Maggie May singer said of the Qatar-hosted football tournament.
Rod Stewart in 2019
Rod Stewart in 2019
Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images

With the 2022 World Cup around the corner and host nation Qatar embroiled in criticism for its human rights abuses, singer Rod Stewart has revealed that he turned down a lucrative performance at the event.

“I was actually offered a lot of money, over $1 million (around £840,000) to play there 15 months ago,” the chart-topping star told The Sunday Times.

“It’s not right to go. And the Iranians should be out too for supplying arms [to Russia].”

While football teams around the globe are preparing for Sunday’s kickoff, celebrities, politicians and activists have excoriated Qatar for its treatment of women, LGBTQ+ people and migrant workers, 37 of whom reportedly died building Qatar’s stadiums.

Pop star Dua Lipa recently announced on Instagram that she “will not be performing” at the 2022 World Cup and looks forward to visiting Qatar “when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right” to host.

Some national football teams have also indicated plans to speak out while participating.

The U.S. Soccer Federation will replace the team’s usual crest of seven red stripes with stripes of different colours to signal its support for the LGBTQ community.

England manager Gareth Southgate also told NME last week that the team will vocalise support for human rights during the games. He said that while England stands “for inclusivity,” he and the team “would like to focus primarily on the football”.

Rod Stewart is a huge soccer fan and once even owned and played on an amateur team, himself.
Rod Stewart is a huge soccer fan and once even owned and played on an amateur team, himself.
Jeff Holmes - PA Images via Getty Images

Rod Stewart is a big fan of football, and owned and played on the amateur Los Angeles Exiles during the late 1980s, according to The Detroit News.

The Maggie May singer, who is worth $300 million (£252 million), has shown himself to be a genuine activist.

He spent hours filling potholes near his Essex home after seeing an ambulance get stuck in March. He also rented a home for a family of Ukrainian refugees and found two of them local jobs.

The icon said his 2016 knighthood gives him a responsibility to continue to speak out on issues close to his heart.

“I’m a knight,” Rod told The Times. “They give you a knighthood because of what you have done, but I don’t just want to rest. I thought if I make this public, other people might do the same thing. Mick Jagger maybe.”


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