Morgan Freeman Kicks Off Controversial World Cup With Emotional Speech As BTS’ Jungkook Performs: Video

The Oscar winner's message was one of inclusiveness, as the tournament's host state, Qatar, has been accused of violating human rights.

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Image Credit: Javier Garcia/Shutterstock

Morgan Freeman gave an emotional speech at the opening ceremonies of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Sunday, November 20. The 85-year-old Oscar winner’s message was one of inclusivity and togetherness, which seemed to be in response to the outcry over the Gulf state hosting the event, as it retains an abysmal human rights record. Morgan’s appearance during the kickoff, which had an Olympic opening ceremony vibe, was followed by a performance from BTSJungkook.

“Football spans the world, unites nations in their love of the beautiful game,” Morgan said in his speech as he walked into the stadium to a thunderous applause. “What brings together nations, brings together communities. There is a common thread of hope, jubilation and respect.”

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who was flanked by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, echoed Morgan’s statement, saying the world’s greatest soccer tournament is an equalizer. “From Qatar, from the Arab world, I welcome everyone to the World Cup 2022,” he said in Arabic. “How lovely it is that people can put aside what divides them to celebrate their diversity and what brings them together all at once.”

The 2022 World Cup has been cast under a shadow of controversy, not only for Qatar’s violations of human rights, but also for their alleged corruption in the bidding process for the tournament, per YahooSports. Notably, Morgan was a face behind the United States’ attempt to secure the 2022 World Cup bid 12 years ago before FIFA awarded the tournament to Qatar amid waves of corruption scandals.

Fortunately, BTS’ Jungkook may have taken viewers’ minds off the scandals when he performed after Morgan’s speech. The Korean superstar linked up with Qatari singer Fahad Al Kubaisi on the stage and gave a rousing rendition of “Dreamers.” The upbeat ditty will be used by FIFA as an official song for the 2022 World Cup.

Fans took to social media to show Jungkook their support. as one posted, “I’m so so proud of you junkook I love the dreamers so much you smashed this performance you looked so gorgeous as well,” as another shared, “I think it will become one of the most loved song off all the word cups :)”

The ceremony preceded the first match of the tournament between Qatar and Ecuador at 11 a.m. EST.

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