FIFA World Cup hosts Qatar corrected an online application form that listed Taiwan as part of China after Taipei lodged a protest.
“Following the ministry’s protest on Wednesday, ‘Taiwan’ replaced ‘Taiwan, Province of China’ in a drop-down menu on the website to request a Hayya card, an ID card that all World Cup spectators must obtain. said ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou.
“We express our gratitude to the event organizers for their prompt response in making the correction and protecting the rights of fans in our country,” she added.
This year’s World Cup will be the first to be held in the Arab world. It will be the second in Asia after the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan.
The controversial card serves as an entry visa for ticket holders for the mega sporting event, which will be held from November 21 to December 18.
Earlier on Wednesday, Taiwanese officials had called on the event’s organizers to correct the form and not “minimize” Taiwan’s sovereign status.
Taiwan and China have been at odds politically for more than seven decades. China continues to regard Taiwan as its province. Beijing officials are asking foreign organizations to make Taiwan part of China or deny it participation.
In past incidents, organizers have often complied to avoid trade retaliation from the world’s second-largest economy.
In 2019, China pressed a list of multinational companies, including airlines, to relabel Taiwan in their public drop-down menus. The FIFA flap is a similar case, analysts say.
Sean Su, an independent political analyst in Taiwan, said the World Cup barrier would increase Taiwanese anger towards China and make people outside of China feel sympathy towards Taiwan.
“I understand why Qatar and other nations may feel like they want to bow down to China or do this for China,” he told VOA. “For them, it makes relations with China easier, but for the rest of the world, it just brings more sympathy to Taiwan.”