Some People Were a Bisht Upset by Messi's Garb at Trophy Ceremony

Others say the gifted garment is sign of deep respect
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2022 4:22 PM CST
Some People Were a Bisht Upset by Messi's Garb at Trophy Ceremony
Argentina's Lionel Messi kisses the trophy as he celebrates with his teammates at the end of the World Cup final soccer match between Argentina and France at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. Argentina won 4-2 in a penalty shootout after the match ended tied 3-3.   (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

For football and soccer fans alike, it was an exciting World Cup, right down to the shootout in a wild final between France and Argentina, who took the trophy for the first time since 1986. They probably couldn’t have done it without the great Lionel Messi, who was in top form throughout. But when Messi joined his team at the trophy ceremony after the game, his trademark No. 10 jersey was obscured by another garment known as a bisht, per CNN. The traditional men’s cloak was placed on Messi’s shoulders by none other than Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in a separate ceremony beforehand.

Some observers saw reason to be upset, including BBC commentator Gary Lineker, who said, "Seems a shame in a way that they’ve covered up Messi in his Argentina shirt." At least one Telegraph editor was agitated enough to headline the story as "the bizarre act that ruined the greatest moment in World Cup history," though it was later tempered to read, "Lionel Messi made to wear traditional Arab bisht." On Twitter, someone called it "sportswashing," and New York Times journalist Tariq Panja complained that "Qatar wants this to be its moment as much as it is Messi’s and Argentina’s."

A Qatari official told the BBC, "This was a celebration of Messi." He added that the World Cup was an "opportunity to showcase to the world our Arab and Muslim culture," and, "this was not about Qatar ... it was a regional celebration." According to Al Jazeera, one expert in Islamic studies referred to the bisht as "a mark of honor, and just kind of a cultural welcoming and a cultural acceptance." Messi had plenty of opportunity to showcase his own jersey during the tournament: he had 13 goals and 8 assists in 7 games, the most contributions by any man since 1966. He also became the only man in any single World Cup to score during every phase from group to final, and he was the first to win Player of the Match in five games. (More Lionel Messi stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.