Russia Declares FIFA World Cup Open After Glitzy Show

Rosalie Gross
June 17, 2018

One of the directors of the World Cup opening ceremony in Russian Federation on Friday downplayed an obscene gesture made by Robbie Williams at the event, saying he did not think the middle finger that the singer flipped to the camera was meant to offend Russian Federation.

Williams was performing in front of 80,000 people at the stadium, and a global television audience of tens of millions. "It apparently didn't air in the United Kingdom but it very much did live on US airwaves on Fox", Deadline reports.

There was an also impromptu change of lyrics in the middle of "Rock DJ", as "Pimping ain't easy, a lot of them fleece me", became "but I did this for free". "He also glanced on the giant screens above the crowd as if to check out his, er, handiwork".

"The 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony was a newsworthy event produced by a third party and carried live on FOX", FOX Sports said in a statement.

Robbie Williams surprised everyone by showing his middle finder during the performance.

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Kim was heard telling Trump through a translator: "I think the entire world is watching this moment". Kim said there would be a "major change" in the world.

The 44-year-old did not explain his gesture but he appeared to mouth the phrase "I did this for free" - a response to criticism for gracing an event dear to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As video clips and photos began to circulate, one Twitter user wrote: 'Did Robbie Williams just flip the world?'

Hip-hop star MIA nonetheless gave a middle finger during the 2012 Super Bowl, leading the National Football League to take legal action against her for violation of its contract.

He was joined in a duet by Russian soprano Aida Garifullina, a soloist from the Vienna State Opera, who entered the pitch on a firebird, singing Williams' hit song "Angels".

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