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Zinedine Zidane headbutt statue to be reinstated for 2022 FIFA

Zinedine Zidane headbutt statue to be reinstated for 2022 FIFA

Doha: Officials have stated that Qatar plans to display a controversial statue of 2006 World Cup final Zinedine Zidane headbutt for this year's tournament. The five-meter (16-foot) high bronze statue portrays the French legend's clash with Italian defender Marco Materassi and was displayed on the Doha seafront for less than four weeks in 2013. The statue was taken down after protests came out saying that it was a violation of Islamic laws on idol-worship.

The head of Qatar Museums, Sheikh al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, said that the statue would be at the centre of an exhibit at Doha's new international sports museum on the impact of high level sport on "mental health and dealing with stress".

"It was nothing against public art, it was more that it felt that was not the right location and it's going be reinstalled," Al Thani told a press conference.

"We're actually planning to reinstall it at the 3-2-1 museum. Zidane is a great friend of Qatar and he's a great role model for the Arab world.

One of the things we're trying to teach and empower people through art is facts about life. So with the Zinedine Zidane sculpture, we'll be talking a lot about the stress on athletes under big tournaments and the importance of dealing with issues of mental health."

The officials at the Museum said that there were hopeful that the statue would be on display again by November 21, the start of the 2022 World Cup.

The statue, sculpted by Algerian-born French artist Adel Abdessemed, has hurt conservatives in the Muslim emirate since its installation in 2013. In a social media campaign, many denounced it as a blatant violation of religious principles, according to NDTV.

Acknowledging that art is often faced with opposition, Al Thani said, "At the start they criticise it but then they accept it."

The 2022 FIFA host country has spent billions of dollars on new museums and art over the past two decades and is planning an extensive campaign for the World Cup, which is expected to attract 1.4 million visitors.

Al-Thani said the Islamic Museum of Art, which has undergone major renovations, will reopen in October.

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TAGS:FIFA World Cup Zinedine Zidane Qatar 
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