Last week there were reports that Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf had been banned from performing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. However, FIFA public relations manager Sascha Rhyner responded to my inquiry for more information by saying the invite still stands:
FIFA can confirm that, as per the invitation of the FIFA President, Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf has been invited to perform at the official opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA Congress on 10 June in Sao Paulo as part of the FIFA World Cup events and that FIFA’s commitment to invite Mr Assaf to perform in Brazil has always been firm.
Very exciting, but there would seem to be more to the story. We’ll continue to follow up to get to the bottom of last week’s confusion.
Update: Ma’an News reports: Assaf invited to sing at FIFA Congress ahead of World Cup
Arab Idol winner Mohammad Assaf was invited to sing at the opening ceremony of the 64th FIFA Congress in Brazil, two days before start of the World Cup……
“I apologize for any misunderstanding but we ensure our commitment to Assaf’s invitation to perform in Brazil,” he [FIFA president Sepp Blatter] added.
The opening ceremony the FIFA congress will be held on June 10, while the World Cup’s opening ceremony is scheduled for June 12.
The controversy, therefore, is not closed.
(Previous Mohammed Assaf coverage on Mondoweiss available here)