Organisers of the World Cup in Qatar are paying for some fans to travel to the tournament in exchange for positive coverage ©Getty Images

Organisers of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup have confirmed that they are paying select fans' travel to the tournament in return for favourable social media coverage.

Dutch public broadcaster NOS reported last week that 50 fans are having their travel and accommodation costs covered by Qatar, and will be present at the Opening Ceremony and first match of the tournament between the hosts and Ecuador on November 20.

They will be required to observe a social media code of conduct as part of the agreement, requiring them to make positive posts about the World Cup and report "any offensive, degrading or abusive comments" to the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC).

The 50 fans had reportedly been chosen by The Netherlands' "fan leaders".

The SC's fan leader programme includes more than 400 individuals from 60 countries, with its role to "engage supporters" and contribute "to tournament planning through fan insight, research, content creation and message amplification".

It has been confirmed that the SC is now seeking fans to attend the tournament as guests.

"As the tournament nears, we have invited our most active fan leaders to personally nominate a small selection of fans to join us as our guests, as a manner of thanking them for their collaboration," an SC spokesperson told Reuters.

The Code of Conduct for fan leaders reportedly states that fans are not expected to be a "mouthpiece" for the controversial FIFA World Cup host, but it "would obviously not be appropriate to disparage Qatar, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy or the FIFA World Cup".

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, right, has expressed frustration at an
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, right, has expressed frustration at an "unprecedented campaign that no host country has faced" ©Getty Images

The build-up to the FIFA World Cup has been dominated by concerns over Qatar's labour laws, treatment of migrant workers and policies on homosexuality and women's rights.

More than 6,500 migrant workers are reported to have died in Qatar since the country was controversially awarded the World Cup in 2010, with 37 of these directly linked to World Cup projects by campaigners.

Human Rights Watch claims that the true figure is likely higher as it does not account for workers from countries other than India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Qatari authorities insist there have been only three deaths in work accidents at World Cup stadiums.

The Qatari Government has pointed to labour reforms including a shift away from the kafala system, which forced foreign workers to seek their employers' consent to change jobs or leave the country.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani expressed his frustration with coverage of the World Cup last week, claiming that the country "has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has faced".

The tournament has been moved away from its usual slot in the northern hemisphere's summer for the first time due to Qatar's heat and humidity, and is due to run from November 20 to December 18.