Explained | Lionel Messi lifts the trophy in bisht. But what is Arab’s traditional robe? Its significance and why Qatar is being criticised over it?

Lionel Messi
FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim offered 'Bisht' to Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi glorified his illustrious career on Sunday by adding the prestigious FIFA World Cup trophy to his cabinet after beating France in the finale of the World Cup 20222 edition in Qatar.

The legendary striker produced a brilliant performance in the most crucial game of his career, as he found the back of the net twice in the 90-plus minute game and started the penalty shootout with a calm and composed goal.

However, Messi was bestowed with the ‘Best Player’ award for his incredible performance throughout the competition; PSG forward was offered to wear a ‘black robe’ by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, as the legend stepped towards the golden trophy. But what is that black robe?

Messi’s cloak is a Bisht, a traditional men’s cloak that’s popular in the Arab world and is understood to date back thousands of years. Arab News suggestes that Bisht has been the choice of formal wear of politicians, religious scholars and high-ranking individuals in Arabian Gulf countries.

Its significance?

A Bisht is worn on special occasions such as weddings or celebrations of festivals such as Eid, the religious holiday celebrated by Muslims that marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan.

Criticism over offering Bisht to Messi

Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of Qatar’s tournament organising committee, told BCCI Sports, ‘It is a dress for an official occasion and word for celebrations. This was a celebration of Messi.’

“The World Cup had the opportunity to showcase to the world our Arab and Muslim culture. This was not about Qatar, it was a regional celebration,” added Al Thawadi.

Former English forward Gary Linekar was also not pleased with the Bisht being offered to Lionel Messi. “It seems a shame, in a way, that they have covered up Messi in his Argentina shirt,” Linekar tweeted.

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