FIFA World Cup hosts Qatar bowed to outrage from Taiwanese officials and corrected an online application form that said Taiwanese entrants were from China. The host nation last week launched the Hayya Card, an app for football fans that provides access to the country and matches. Controversy arose during the initial release of the app, Taiwan was listed in the drop-down menu as “Taiwan, Province of China”.
After Taipei lodged a protest, the host country rectified this and the list was changed to “Taiwan”. Expressing concern, Taiwanese officials said identifying its citizens as Chinese “demeans the country”. Following this, Qatar made the necessary changes, which were later welcomed by protesting Taiwanese officials.
“Following the ministry’s protest on Wednesday, ‘Taiwan’ replaced ‘Taiwan, Province of China’ in a drop-down menu on the website to request a Hayya card, an ID card that all World Cup spectators must get,” Joanne Ou, Taiwan’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, said. “We express our gratitude to the organizers of the event for their prompt response in making the correction and protecting the rights of fans in our country,” she said, as quoted by ANI.
Taiwan and China have been at loggerheads politically for more than seven decades as the latter continues to regard Taiwan as part of its province. Several event organizers have often complied with China’s request to list Taiwan as its province to avoid any issues with the country. In 2019, China asked a list of multinational companies, including airlines, to relabel Taiwan on their public drop-down menus as part of the Chinese province. According to analysts, the latest installment of FIFA is a similar case.
FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar
It is pertinent to note that the upcoming World Cup in Qatar will be the first to be held in an Arab country. This will be only the second tournament in Asia after the 2002 finals in South Korea and Japan. Meanwhile, in the run up to the tournament, Qatar has launched the Hayya card, which serves as an entry visa for ticket holders to the sporting event. The 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup kicks off on November 23 in Qatar, with the clash at the top set to be held on December 19.