An image allegedly showing Kathmandu metropolitan city’s mayor attending the opening ceremony of FIFA World Cup in Qatar is being widely shared on Facebook. Newschecker found the claim to be false.
Qatar is hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022, which is the most widely viewed and followed sporting event on the planet, from 20 November to 18 December. Soccer teams from 32 countries and tens of thousands of fans have currently converged in the peninsular Arab nation for the quadrennial football festival.
Against this backdrop, a Facebook page named Troll Cricket Nepal shared an image of an Arabic man apparently addressing a program. The Facebook post caption reads, “Proud to see our Balen Shah in the opening ceremony of the World Cup,” while a bearded man sitting in a row has been circled with a red mark on the image. The post claims that the bearded man in the image is Balen Shah attending the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup.
The image posted on November 20 has garnered 36k likes, 810 shares and 439 people have commented on it until the last count.
Fact Check /Verification
To check the authenticity of the claim made in the viral image, Newschecker took a keyframe from the image and conducted a reverse search on google which threw up several relevant results. On clicking a news article published by MENAFN, a popular news agency in the Middle East and North Africa region, we found that the image accompanying the article bear a close resemblance to the viral image. The article was about the inauguration of FIFA World Cup 2022 by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
Further, we also found another photo matching the viral image posted on Twitter by Qads News Network. The image was also captured during the inauguration address of the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony in Qatar.
We noticed the military uniform of the person purported to be Balen Shah in the viral image. Taking it as a clue, we conducted further research on the identity of the man using different key words and found that the person is Amiri Guard Commander of Qatar Major General Hazza bin Khalil Al Shahwani.
Our findings clearly show that the person seen in the back row during the opening ceremony speech of FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar is not Kathmandu’s mayor Balen Shah.
The claim that Kathmandu’s mayor Balen Shah was spotted attending FIFA is false, the person seen in the viral image is actually Amiri Guard Commander of Qatar Major General Hazza bin Khalil Al Shahwani.