FIFA finally introduced the mascot for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The mascot, named La’eeb, was released during the draw for the 2022 World Cup final on Friday (01/04/2022) in Doha, Qatar. La’eeb’s mascot wears ribs on his head and a white robe that looks to float in the air.
La’eeb in Arabic means highly skilled player. Designed with a cheerful face, the mascot looks adorable and cute. But after being inaugurated, La’eeb drew controversy from netizens.
La’eeb is said to look like the cartoon character Casper
Many commented that La’eeb is exactly like the ghost character in a legendary 90s animated film called Casper. The reason is, La’eeb who wears a white robe does not have any accomplices and floats in the air like Casper. The similarity was also noticed by an Indian journalist who tweeted whether La’eeb looked like Casper the friendly ghost wearing a turban.
Netizens make La’eeb a symbol of the deaths of thousands of migrant workers
Some netizens criticized La’eeb’s mascot and linked it to the dark story of the deaths of migrant workers while building the stadium. It is known, Qatar is intensively building infrastructure such as hotels, stadiums, and other facilities.
However, the development process carried out over the last 10 years has taken many victims. Around 6,500 migrant workers are reported to have died in order to build facilities for the 2022 World Cup. Some believe Qatar has carried out massive exploitation of migrant workers.
FIFA responds to La’eeb . controversy
FIFA marketing director Khalid Ali Al Mawlawi said everyone was free to interpret the La’eeb mascot. Khalid explained that the Now is All-themed mascot aims to make everyone feel confident. La’eeb has also become a symbol that football can bring joy to everyone.
Khalid is optimistic that La’eeb will become an icon of youth spirit who spreads confidence and joy. He is sure fans around the world will love La’eeb’s lovable character. La’eeb is expected to provide inspiration for young fans.
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Although much criticized, not a few are amazed by the mascot La’eeb. They praised La’eeb looking adorable and funny. His wide eyes and tiny mouth are loved by fans of all ages.