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AO Arena to show World Cup clash ahead of concert

Manchester’s AO Arena is to screen England’s World Cup quarter-final clash with France live prior to Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott’s concert at the venue tomorrow evening (10 December).

Support act Billy Bragg has agreed to perform earlier than planned at 6.15pm GMT to enable the match to be shown on the 21,000-cap arena’s big screens from 7pm. Heaton & Abbott will then take to the stage for their headline set at 9pm.

“Following some lengthy thought and discussion, we have decided that we will now be showing the England v France match on the screens at AO Arena Manchester,” says a statement on the venue’s website.

“We are mindful that there will be people that won’t be keen on watching the match (we did, unsuccessfully, look at alternative entertainment within the arena itself) and also worried about transport home, but we assure you that Paul & Jacqui will still take to the stage by 9pm, meaning the show will finish around 10:40/45pm.

“With the right result this could be a great night!”

“This does mean we won’t be showing any extra time if that occurs, but if it does Paul and Jacqui will be very keen to keep you updated from the stage. With the right result this could be a great night!”

London’s The O2 previously streamed England’s 2018 World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia before a Justin Timberlake concert, while BST Hyde Park showed the game to 30,000 attendees on the Great Oak Stage, preceded by a performance by the Lightning Seeds.

Heaton, a renowned football supporter, and Abbott have capped tickets for their current UK arena tour at just £30 in a bid to help fans weather the cost of living crisis.

“I’m against greed in the industry,” Heaton told BBC Breakfast. “It’s incredibly important that through the coming months and possibly years, that we tell the fans that we’re getting paid enough and we want to keep it low for you.”


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The ILMC 1994 World Cup

In the summer of 1994, when England failed to qualify for the World Cup in America, ILMC ran its own “far better” version with England in it. Calling on ILMC members to form national teams while raising money for charity, it took place at “the only place you could hold a proper World Cup” – the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium in London.

The original VHS recording of the day was lost in the dark annuls of the ILMC archives until recently, and now it’s released online for your viewing pleasure for the very first time.

The video features many familiar faces from across the international live music business (albeit somewhat younger looking), as well as highlights of each match. The day itself raised funds for Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy and Great Ormond St Children’s Hospital, with trophies awarded by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II…or at least someone who looked a lot like her.

The teams were led by captains Martin Horne (England), Petri Lunden (Scandinavia), Frank Van Hoorn (Holland), Geoff Ellis (Scotland), Carlos Fleischmann (Germany), Peter Aiken (Ireland), John Tyrell (Australia) and Anna Reznik (Russia), while the full list of players are below.

“ILMC was getting playful to see what we could get away with,” recalls conference founder Martin Hopewell. “We had a go-karting red-eye league once a week with its own newsletter and looked at doing a skiing event called ILM-Ski, and clay shooting championship called ILM-Skeet.

“It started out as a fun idea and grew into a monster, legendary event”

“The World Cup was in America and England hadn’t qualified for it, so we had the idea of having the real world cup with England in it, in the only place you could do a proper World Cup – Wembley Stadium.

“It started out as a fun idea and grew into a monster, legendary event. This was pre-email, pre-anything really, so we called and faxed ILMC members to see who wanted to put a national live music business team together.”

ILMC producer Rob Hollingsworth organised the day alongside Hopewell, with former Wembley Stadium execs John Drury and Charlie Shun managing to green-light the venue.

“For the opening ceremony everybody marched out onto the pitch waving at 80,000 invisible people cheering through the loudspeakers,” says Hopewell. “The whole event was just magic; people contacted me years later to say it was the best day of their lives, including their wedding day, or the birth of their first child.”

If you played in 1994’s ILMC World Cup, or were involved, we’d love to see your comments on the video on our YouTube channel.

The Teams:

John Tyrell
Peter Ryan
Gavin Charles
Janette Stuart
Rod Woolley
Dorina Morelli
Peter Kent
Lisa Nadal
Andy Zweck
Paul Franklin
Dave Chumbley
Nigel Hassler
Tim Elwes
Ben Winchester
Sean Fitzpatrick
Frankie Enfield
Robert Delicata

Martin Horne
Richard Hermitage
Jeff Craft
Mick Griffiths
Paul Buck
Mike Greek
Pete Nash
Paul Bolton
Tim Parsons
Simon Moran
Martin Goebbels
Ian Huffam
Andy Woolliscroft
Steve Knott
Martin Hopewell
Rob Hollingsworth

Dirk Matzke
Stefan Puriss
Axel Horn
Henry Klaere
Ralf Weihrauch
Sven Kohl
Holger Statmann
Thomas Wundald
Jorg Schafer
Jorg Lengauer
Rainer Mund
Gunter Linnartz
Marc Liebscher
Richard Hamilton
Carlos Fleischmann
Pala Maini

Dries van de Schuyt
Peter van de Schuyt
Gert Kok
Philip Schuller
Dick Molenaar
Jochem Kroon
Wim van Antwerpen
Leon Mooijman
Richard Janssen
Rob Takken
Edwin Zomer
Michiel Berg
Arie Martin van Tol
Barry Smith
Frank Van Hoorn
Saskia Blom

Gerard Skelton
Joe Webb
John Reynolds
Conor Kelly
Mark McGinley
Greg Finnegan
Niall Stokes
Dune Stokes
Kevin McKay
John McGuigan
Eamon O’Connor
Tommy Higgins
Paul Maxwell
Peter Aiken

Grigori Kouzmine
Oleg Gazmanov
Alexandre Ivanov
Iouri Loza
Igor Kouprianov
Vitali Bondarchouk
Eugeni Lovtchev
Andrei Serychev
Eugeni Chliakhovoi
Nikolai Safonov
Igor Silverstov
Igor Belikov
Rafail Isangulov
Oleg Scugarev

Christian Schoyen
Knut Akselsen
Pange Oberg
Ben Marlene
Palle Lidell
Billy Bolero
Martin Roos
James Hoffman
Johan “Redtop” Larsson
Sean Morgan
Neil Thorns

Scott Fyfe
Tony Kerr
Pedro McShane
Jim McDermott
Gerry McEllhone
Geoff Ellis
Rob Ballantine
Brian Reid
Steph Fleming
Callum McLean
Kevin McDermott
Paul Westwater
Dougie Souness


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Artists divided over Qatar World Cup opportunities

Dua Lipa and Rod Stewart have spoken out against performing at the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the country’s human rights record.

Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and criminalisation of same-sex relationships has come under increased scrutiny in the run-up to the football tournament, which begins this weekend.

And with a growing number of artists confirmed to be performing in the country during the World Cup, Lipa took to Instagram to deny reports she had signed up to play the opening ceremony.

“There is currently a lot of speculation that I will be performing at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar,” she said. “I will not be performing and nor have I ever been involved in any negotiation to perform.

“I will be cheering England on from afar and I look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host the World Cup.”

Stewart, meanwhile, revealed he turned down more than $1 million (€968,000) to perform in Qatar last year.

“I was actually offered a lot of money, over $1m, to play there 15 months ago,” Stewart told The Sunday Times. “I turned it down. It’s not right to go.”

It was confirmed last week that BTS member Jungkook will perform at the opening ceremony, taking place next Sunday (20 November) at the Al Bayt stadium, and contribute to the tournament’s official soundtrack. Diplo, Calvin Harris and Sean Paul will also be performing at the Fifa Fan Festival, which will run over the 29 days of the international football showpiece.

“I look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made”

Meanwhile, David Guetta, Fatboy Slim, Steve Aoki, Afrojack, Hardwell, Rae Sremmurd, Tinie, Jorja Smith and Tyga are among the international stars due to perform at MDLBeast’s Aravia concert series on the purpose-built Al Rihla stage in Doha.

LGBTIQ+ people and women continue to face discrimination in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal and can be punished by fines, prison sentences of up to seven years and even the possibility of the death penalty.

There are also significant concerns over rights for migrant workers, with a 2021 Guardian report finding that more than 6,000 migrant workers have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, women are subject to a system where they remained tied to their male guardian – usually their father, brother, grandfather or uncle – or for married women, to their husband.

According to Amnesty International, they need their guardian’s permission for key life decisions to marry, study abroad on government scholarships, work in many government jobs, travel abroad until certain ages, and receive some forms of reproductive healthcare.

In addition, family laws continue to discriminate against women by making it difficult for them to divorce and divorced women remain unable to act as their children’s guardian.


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Top dance acts set for Qatar World Cup concerts

Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Fatboy Slim and Steve Aoki head the line-up of international dance acts announced for MDLBeast’s Aravia concert series, which will take place in Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The nightly raves will be held at the purpose-built Al Rihla venue in Doha from 21 November to 18 December. Tickets start at QAR199 (€57).

Other artists will include Afrojack, Hardwell, Rae Sremmurd, Tinie and Tyga, alongside regional stars Amr Diab, Ayed, and Hamaki and up-and-coming Saudi talent such as Biirdperson, Cosmicat, Dish Dash and Vinyl Mode. Performances will kick off at the end of each match during the international football tournament.

MDLBeast also promotes the Soundstorm festival and XP Music Futures conference in Riyadh, with Aravia marking its first event to be held outside Saudi Arabia.

“Our mission goes far beyond the music scene in Saudi Arabia”

“Our mission goes far beyond the music scene in Saudi Arabia,” says Talal Albahiti, chief operating officer and head of talent booking at MDLBeast. “On the contrary, it is aimed at growing the music industry region-wide and ensuring we create a sustainable music industry, inspiring and empowering the entire ecosystem.

“Between our annual flagship event Soundstorm in Riyadh and Aravia in Doha, we are thrilled to travel out of Saudi for the first time and be hosting these incredible music events.”

FIFA has also announced plans to stage free concerts starring “top global and local music acts” as part of a reimagined Fan Festival at the World Cup. The festival will be held at one central location at Al Bidda Park in Doha.


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MDLBeast to stage World Cup concert series Aravia

Saudi music entertainment company MDLBeast has unveiled details of its new concert series Aravia, which will bring dozens of superstar DJs to Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The line-up, which will be revealed in the coming days, will comprise 56 dance acts, who will perform on the purpose-built Al Rihla stage in Doha.

MDLBeast, which promotes the Soundstorm festival and XP Music Futures conference in Riyadh, says performances will start at the end of each match of the international football tournament from 21 November to 18 December.

“The launch of Aravia is a huge milestone moment for MDLBeast and for the wider region”

“The launch of Aravia is a huge milestone moment for MDLBeast and for the wider region,” says MDLBeast CEO Ramadan Alharatani. “We are known for putting on legendary live music and entertainment events thanks to the runaway success of Soundstorm, and to have 28 nights of AAA DJs and music in Qatar this year is an exciting prospect.

“We look forward to bringing the best of dance music to football fans from all over the world.”

The news comes days after FIFA announced it is to stage free concerts starring “top global and local music acts” as part of a reimagined Fan Festival at the World Cup. The festival will be held at one central location at Al Bidda Park in Doha.


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World’s first mobile stadium takes shape

Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, a 40,000-seat temporary venue billed as the world’s first ‘demountable’ stadium, is under construction in Doha, Qatar.

Constructed on an artificial promontory in the district of the same name, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium is being built to a modular design, and partly out of old shipping containers from Doha Port. It is one of eight new venues under construction ahead of the Fifa World Cup football competition in 2022.

The first moveable stadium in World Cup history, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium “will be entirely dismantled and repurposed post-2022, setting a new standard in tournament sustainability and legacy,” according to Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), which is overseeing the Qatar 2022 world cup.

In a tweet sent on Friday (16 October), the SC said the new venue is “slowly taking shape”:

After the tournament, says the SC, the “modular seats and even the roof will be disassembled and reused”.

What they’ll be reused for, however, is still under discussion: the Qatari authorities note its modular design “could provide the building blocks for another 40,000-seat stadium in a different location, or for several different types of sporting or non-sporting venues”.

The Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup takes place from 21 November to 18 December, with 32 national teams taking part.


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World Cup: Live makes way for football fever

A host of live events in the UK, including major concerts and comedy shows, are being pushed back or altered to accomodate tonight’s Fifa World Cup semifinal, which sees England do battle with Croatia to determine France’s opponents in Sunday’s final.

The last time England were in the semis was 1990, and with the country in the throes of World Cup fever – the Lightning Seeds’ Euro 96 classic ‘Three Lions’ is on course for this week’s no1 single – concert promoters and venues are reluctant to go up against the once-in-a-generation fixture. (Emily Sandé discovered this the hard way when England played Colombia in the knock-out stages during her show on 3 July, and, “halfway through [the] piano ballad ‘Clown’, the most delicate song in her setlist, a raucous cheer broke out from the crowd” after Eric Dier’s penalty kick put England through to the quarter finals.)

Both Justin Timberlake, who is playing the O2, and Niles Rogers and Chic, who are performing at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, will screen the 7pm match before their shows, with Chic promoter Cuffe & Taylor electing to bump Sister Sledge off the bill in favour of the Three Lions.

“We fully understand that when it comes to England reaching the semifinals of the World Cup, people feel torn if they have other plans,” says Cuffe & Taylor director Peter Taylor. “Therefore, we’ve decided it is only right to show the big game on our stage screens so everyone who is attending the Nile Rodgers and Chic show can still see England perform, too.”

Girl group All Saints, who are playing Electric Brixton (1,500-cap.) in London, will now take to the stage at the later time of 9.30pm. “The people have spoken and we have listened,” reads a statement from the venue. “We’ll now be showing [the] World Cup semifinal match on a huge screen before our All Saints Show.”

Comedians Jason Manford and Chris Ramsey, meanwhile, have axed stand-up gigs in Stevenage and Ulverston, respectively, with Manford tweeting that he’s “bow[ing] under the weight of an expectant and hopeful nation”. Both shows will be rescheduled for a later date.

One event that won’t be showing the football is DEAG/Kilimanjaro Live’s Kew the Music, which continues in Kew Gardens, west London, tonight. A Kew Gardens spokesperson says while it won’t be showing the football ahead of this evening’s Gipsy Kings show, which kicks off at 8.45pm, it will be displaying the scores around the concert site.

AEG’s British Summer Time – halfway through its free-to-access midweek programme, ahead of another weekend of music from Paul Simon, Michael Bublé and Bruno Mars – will screen the game in Hyde Park tonight, after handing out 30,000 free tickets in a ballot yesterday afternoon.

As for the songs that will be played at Luzhniki Stadium for the match itself, Queen’s sporting anthem ‘We Will Rock You’ joins Imagine Dragons’ ‘Thunder’ and two K-pop hits, BTS’s ‘Fake Love’ and EXO’s ‘Power’, as the soundtrack for the evening. The songs emerged as the top four choice in a poll organised by Fifa, which saw around five million people vote on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Looking ahead to the weekend, and Sunday 15 July’s France vs England/Croatia final, several live music events have similarly confirmed their intention to screen the game. According to the NME, Latitude, Citdel and Lovebox in the UK will be showing the final (with Paul Simon-headlined BST expected to follow), as well as Dour Festival in Belgium.

In France, meanwhile – the one nation confirmed to be in Sunday’s match – even hip-hop royalty are making way for the World Cup. Beyoncé and Jay-Z will play to a jubilant/despondent crowd at the Stade de France on Sunday night, following a screening of the game prior to the show.

“Twenty years after the French team’s first World Cup win, Beyoncé and Jay-Z invite those who have a ticket for their concert to present themselves at the Stade de France at 4pm in order to be able to enjoy, on the stadium’s big screens, […] the Blues’ final victory,” reads a statement from Live Nation France.


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Fifa trials ‘obese’ tickets for 2017 cup

Fifa’s special-access tickets (SAT) for the upcoming Confederations Cup in Russia will be offered to ‘obese persons’ at no extra cost.

For the first time, those with a body mass index (BMI) of 35kg/m² will join those with disabilities and wheelchair users in being eligible to purchase SATs for the popular football tournament, which acts as a prelude to next year’s World Cup.

According to organiser Fifa (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), those wishing to purchase “Obese Person Tickets [will require] presentation of a signed doctor’s note stating the person’s BMI”.

“For Obese Person Tickets, presentation of a signed doctor’s note stating the person’s BMI will be required”

However, unlike those with disabilities, obese persons will not be eligible for a +1 for a companion.

According to The Independent, Fifa first introduced extra-wide seats for overweight fans at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which were advertised with a 50% discount if a doctor’s note could be provided.

The Confederations Cup will run from 17 June to 2 July 2017, with the World Cup, also in Russia, following on 14 June–15 July 2018. There will be no concerts in the run-up to the event, with Fifa having banned live music in stadia an effort to prevent damage to pitches.


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Fifa bans pre-World Cup concerts

Football’s international governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa), has banned concerts taking place in World Cup stadia ahead of 2018’s tournament in Russia.

Under the new regulations, published on Monday, venues hosting World Cup 2018 matches will be off limits to non-footballing events for two months in advance of the start of the competition. The only exemption is for stadia which have “Fifa’s explicit prior approval in writing”.

World Cup 2018 Stadia will be off limits for concerts two months prior to the start of the tournament

The ruling comes after controversy over the state of pitch surfaces at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the Uefa Euro 2016 championship in France earlier this year. In June the French national team’s manager, Didier Deschamps, blamed a recent AC/DC show for the poor state of the pitch for his team’s clash with Albania at the Stade Velodrome (67,394-cap.) in Marseilles.

“It’s a disaster, but that’s not surprising,” he said. “If you have an AC/DC concert a month before the European Championships— they’re changing the pitch, relaying the turf.”


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