The 22nd FIFA World Cup is right around the corner: on Sunday, 20 November, Qatar, the hosting country, will face Ecuador in the opening match, officially kicking off the tournament. In Groningen, many bars and cafes are organizing special events to broadcast the biggest matches of the World Cup 2022.
Where to watch
Huize Maas, on the Vismarkt, wants to turn itself into the self-proclaimed “biggest World Cup Café in the North”, with 300 seats to watch the most important matches.
“We all missed a summer World Cup this year,” the owners said. “We decided to organize this event because if we can’t celebrate the World Cup in summer, we’ll just have to give it all in winter, don’t we?”. In addition to football match screenings, there will be party music between and after the games.
The first match to be broadcast at Huize Maas is England vs Iran on Monday, 21 November, at 14:00, followed by the Netherlands debut against Senegal at 17:00. The café will then follow the World Cup schedule until the Final, on 18 December.
World Cup criticism
The 2022 World Cup comes amid discussions about the legitimacy of Qatar’s host selection procedure and criticism of the workers’ treatment during the preparation for the event. The concerns also involve Qatar’s positions on LGBTQ+ rights, as homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.
These debates have led to many activities and protests against the competition, with people and organizations deciding to boycott the World Cup.
In Groningen last month, Maarten Roorda, owner of Proeflokaal Hooghoudt announced that its bar will not show any World Cup game. Roorda explained he took this decision to stand for equal rights for everyone. “We respect everyone. This clashes with broadcasting football matches from a country where everything is wrong in the field of human rights,” Roorda added in an interview with Sikkom.
On the same street, another local business making a strong statement against the upcoming football tournament’s host country is Feestwinkel Mulder, with an in-your-face window display: female-looking mannequins with moustaches, wearing traditional white robes, draped in rainbow scarves with blood-red paint on their hands. “Usually we dress those mannequins in orange, but there is nothing to celebrate this time,” director Thom Mulder said.