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Iran's Starting 11 Do Not Sing National Anthem Before Match; Captain Of Seven Teams Say They Won't Wear "OneLove" Armbands; Host Nation Qatar Accused Of Human Rights Violations. Aired 10-10:45a ET

Aired November 21, 2022 - 10:00:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, hello and welcome to a very special CONNECT THE WORLD coming to you live from Doha in Qatar. A city

buzzing with the excitement of hosting the biggest sports show in the world. The 2022 FIFA World Cup. We are here all this week bringing you the

ups and downs on the pitch, as well as all the drama off the pitch.

Day one here in Doha has already seen its share of competition, controversy and symbolism. England taking on Iran right now. It's just one of three

games today on this first full day of competition. A moving moment before that match, Iran's starting 11 remained silent during their country's

national anthem. It was an apparent show of solidarity with protesters back home.

And seven European club captains say they will not wear the one love armbands designed to show diversity and inclusion after learning they could

be sanctioned for doing so. Although FIFA has said all 30 captains will have the chance to wear the armbands during the event. Well, CNN Sports

Anchor Amanda Davies is with me now. First day of the World Cup always full of drama, never short of controversy and has to be said not least this

Qatar 2022.

Let's talk about the football first though. Big game going on. England versus Iran. It has to be said England or out of the gate here, aren't


AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: They are. I mean, I'm going to stay. I'm going to start with, Becky, this is the first day. It really does feel that

this World Cup has properly kicked off. If you remember, this was meant to be, wasn't it? The opening day of the tournament. And there's notably so

many more fans here in the suit behind us. And it's exciting. Three games on the schedule.

As you mentioned, group B has kicked off. England's against Iran. There weren't too many high hopes behind England's heading into this one after

six games without a victory despite that semifinal in Russia in 2018. And then the final in the European Championships. It was almost their former

dipped on the wrong time. But they are out here. And they are certainly putting on a show. A six-one in the 92nd minute with 10 minutes of time

added on against Iran.

And so many of the players who has such a tough time, they've been subjected to so much of that social media abuse after missing the penalties

at the European Championships. The likes of Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, they're both on the score sheets and really the youngsters putting on a

show but you have to feel for Iran because they've had so much going on in the background and at home in the run out today.

ANDERSON: And let's just talk about that. Because we certainly will as we move through the next couple of hours because our colleague Don Riddell is

actually out the game. And we will check in with him later especially about the reaction of the Iranian players to the national anthem. It'd be really

interesting to hear how the crowd responded to that as well. That's one of the sort of issues, sort of in the background as it were here that said

that's got into the foreground as this game kicked off earlier on today.

Away from their action on the pitch of course there has been some fallout from England and other European nations deciding not to wear the one love

armband. Just explain what that is all about.

DAVIES: Yes. It's almost the longer we're here and every day that passes that message from FIFA to the teams taking part in this tournament to stick

to the football not get involved in the politics and the morality. It seems further and further removed from reality, doesn't it? Because a number of

the EUFA Nations, the working group on human rights said a good couple of months ago they wanted their captains the likes of Harry Kane, the likes of

The Netherlands Virgil van Dijk to wear a one love armband to show solidarity for members of the LGBTQ plus community.

The problem is FIFA World Football's governing body has always had a rule that no player, nobody on the field of play is allowed to display a political message or a slogan.


They have never changed that rule but it seems that I think the feeling of the EUFA for countries was that given where we are in society at the

moment, the growth of social activism, the growth of sports people using their voices that maybe on the fact we're here in Qatar, where it is

illegal to be gay, perhaps the rules might be bent for this moment and they might see a reason to do that.

FIFA have stuck fine. That meant that anybody who wore that armband was going to be sanctioned with a yellow card, which could mean important

players would be suspended further down the line. And that would impact World Cup chances. And the teams have felt that ultimately, they were

unable to make that call. And you can see it from both sides. And understandably, there is real frustration from members of the LGBTQ plus

community they've been let down.

ANDERSON: The FIFA compromise is a no discrimination armband, which I -- as I understand it was something that was likely to be worn by players further

into this tournament. You've seen the players on the pitch tonight --

DAVIES: They have a different armband for every round of the game. Yes.

ANDERSON: It's always good to have you. As you say, it's actually just quiet down here. And let me tell you, there's drums behind us and that is

mostly Argentinian fans. They do make not -- they make an awful lot of noise and, you know, whichever World Cup you go to, and they're pretty much

always at the World Cup. Right?

DAVIES: I'm really confident this round as well.

ANDERSON: It's going to be-- it's going to be great. All right. Well, they're enjoying themselves, we're enjoying themselves. Later today, the

U.S. taking on Wales. Say the Americans got some tips from the U.S. president as well it seems. Very briefly, what do we know?

DAVIES: Yes. Well, President Biden not only sent his good luck at their first U.S. appearance in a World Cup in eight years but he also volunteered

that he was ready for his call up if they wanted. They are a young squad, but perhaps 80-year-old taking it a little bit far.

ANDERSON: All right. Good stuff. We're going to leave it there. We need to move it on (INAUDIBLE) guys. Here we go. More than a decade then has passed

since Qatar first learned it we'll be hosting this global event. We've been following that every step of the way. If you're a regular viewer, you'll

know that my team and I are based in Abu Dhabi which is here in the Gulf. So we regularly come in and out of Qatar. It's almost hard to believe the

moment has arrived. Here's a look at how we got here.


ANDERSON: The Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup is officially underway. 12 long years in the making.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is almost upon us.


ANDERSON: This is where the journey began.


ANDERSON: 2010, scenes of jubilation across the small immensely wealthy nation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not only going to host a successful World Cup, we're going to host the best World Cup ever.

ANDERSON: Thus started a massive infrastructure project. Seven new stadiums, an airport extension, an entire metro system and countless new


ANDERSON (on camera): I've been coming to Doha for more than a decade. And frankly, for the past 10 years most of the conversations that I have when

I've been here have been dominated by talk of preparation for this tournament. So it is amazing to see the fans mingling here. Tunisia,

Argentina, Senegal, they're here and they are loving it as this tournament begins. But of course, it hasn't been without its controversy.

ANDERSON (voice over): Initially, allegations of corruption and bribery dogged this bid. Accusations that Qatar has always denied.

NASSER AL KHATER, QATAR 2022 CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Innocent until proven guilty. We were not extended that. We were guilty and we have to keep

proving our innocence over and over and over again. Had it been another nation. Would it be measured with the same yardstick?

ANDERSON: Then there's the plight of migrant workers employed on World Cup infrastructure. An issue I've been pressing organizers on for years.

ANDERSON (on camera): Last time you and I were here we were in high vies jacket.

ANDERSON (voice over): Most recently last summer.


ANDERSON (on camera): That's the sponsorship --

AL THAWADI: Absolutely.

ANDERSON: Sponsorship system has been dismantled?


ANDERSON: Surely you will concede that it is absolutely critical that perpetrators of abuse and exploitation be held to account. What's been done

to ensure that that's the case?


AL THAWADI: As far as I'm aware and following closely what the state has done people who have abused the law are punished.

ANDERSON: Well, there has to been significant progress more needs to be done and Qatar admits that. And there's also the issue of anti

homosexuality laws here. Adding more pressure to Qatar in 2017 four Arab nations, three of them close neighbors cut off diplomatic and trade ties,

blockading the small state accusing Doha of supporting extremist groups.

The feud that divided the Gulf ended last year. And remarkably, in May, Qatar Airways announced the partnership with regional air carriers to

shuffle fans to and from Doha, realizing along the stated goal of the organizers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From day one, we've said this is a tournament for the region, and it still continues being a tournament for the region. We've

always worked and strive towards ensuring that the benefit of the World Cup extends beyond butter to the people of the region.

ANDERSON: The world's biggest party has now arrived in the Middle East. There are questions lingering over whether the legacy of this tournament

will be long term reform. But for now, hundreds of thousands of football fans here and millions around the world have a month to celebrate the

beautiful game and all it has to offer.


ANDERSON: Well, Professor Danyel Reiche from Georgetown University in Canada has co-written a book on the controversies that have engulfed the

2020 World Cup. Pretty much as my report suggested since FIFA awarded it to Qatar more than a decade ago. He's leading a research initiative on the

event and the political, social and economic implications of holding it in this small Middle Eastern nation.

It's good to have you with me, sir. Professor Danyel Reiche joining me on set here. Qatar is a very different place to when it was first awarded the

World Cup. You are leading research into the impact that this tournament has and will have on this tiny kingdom going forward. What do you believe

the lasting changes will be, sir?

DANYEL REICHE, VISITING ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR: What Qatar's primary goal was to overcome its invisibility as a

small state. When you talk to experts who live here since the 80s, 90s say when they were traveling and talking to people and said I work in Qatar,

nobody knew Qatar. Now everybody knows Qatar. Qatar invests into international sports since 1993 when the country hosted its first

international ATP tournament.

So it has overcome it invisibility. It also gained more influence in international affair. And by doing so, it also wants to contribute to its

national security because it centers between two big countries. And I think it has done a pretty good job so far.

ANDERSON: Well, you could argue that the controversy that is dogged this big from the start and the issues with migrant workers and the issues that

we continue to discuss about the anti-homosexuality laws her, quite frankly, have stained its reputation. That is certainly an argument that I

have heard.

REICHE: I agree with you. There's a thin line between soft power and soft disempowerment. But certainly the sport has put Qatar on the net. Everybody

knows Qatar and Qatar's major objective by investing into sport is that it's a tool of interconnectedness to have constant interactions with the

rest of the world. We have all the time athletes here, let's say as a tourist, of course, like Qatar Airways, like Qatar Foundation and many


So -- but when it comes to the policy changes, of course, it remains to see whether they will last after the World Cup.

ANDERSON: You live here.


ANDERSON: Do you believe they will?

REICHE: I think so. Yes. I think when Qatar was awarded the World Cup in 2010 and the kafala system was criticized by international media -- by

international human rights organization. Qatar was rightfully criticized, maybe international audiences did not always understand that this is not a

Qatar thing. It's a Gulf thing. So the Kafala system existed in the entire region. And maybe took too long until Qatar made changes.

But I think in the last two years, we have seen a plethora of changes from the minimum wage to the dismantling of the kafala system, extension of

summer hours where outside work is not permitted. So I think we have tangibly changed and I'm confident but I can't predict the future that they

will last.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about the way that Qataris, those living here, yourself included are feeling about what has happened here thus far. Last

night, the BBC didn't show the opening. ceremony for example.


And Mehdi Hassan who is a pretty prominent U.S. anchor. He used to work for Al Jazeera, which is a broadcast network here, has talked about the West

being guilty of hypocrisy, to all intents and purposes. He has said they say a lot of the criticism is rooted in false assumptions of the region.

Are they?

REICHE: I watched the match on German T.V., I'm German. And the entire pre- match reporting was just about like human rights issues. And then one minute before the match, there was a commercial, that's the World Cup on

German T.V., it's proudly presented by Emirates, the airlines. So that's funny and shows you a lot about the double standards. So, I can understand

the Qatari and --


ANDERSON: Why is that double standard? Sorry. I have to pick you up on that.

REICHE: It's funny, because why is a program sponsored by an airline from the United Arab Emirates? And it's the same time criticizing human rights

standards in Qatar. I mean, then they should also crush their own sponsors, right? So -- but I think certainly they are double standards when we look

at a debate around the Olympics and World Cups in China and Russia. I think Qatar is more criticized.

There might be also some Islamophobia. But certainly, Qatar was also rightfully criticized in 2010 when it was awarded to workups. The situation

for the migrant workers was not great. It has done now changes and it's a pioneer on the regions, the other countries should follow. We have 29 to 35

million migrant workers in the Gulf. Less than five percent of them and Qatar. So the other countries should also now have reforms and improves the

lives of migrant workers.

And hopefully Qatar will continue its path of gradually reforming and improving the situation of some migrant workers.

ANDERSON: Actually, you are making a very good point. And I have seen reform in other countries around this region as a result of -- I think you

could argue what is going on here. Still work to be done, work in progress. But those reforms, as you rightly pointed out are significant as far as the

migrant workers are consenting to it. Right. More on what is going on here. A little later this hour and next.

I'm going to get you the other news though. Blasts being heard dangerously close to the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia. Coming up. That's got

nuclear inspectors on edge. We'll look at what they are doing about that coming up. And we are awaiting new details from police in Colorado about a

deadly nightclub attack. Some saying it looks very much like a hate crime. The latest from that investigation is when we come back. Stay with us.



ANDERSON: Well, ahead of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog says attacks near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant are like playing with fire. Rafael Grossi's

comments come after him. Inspectors at the plant observed frequent shelling and explosions on the weekend. Now, Grossi's statement didn't place blame.

Both Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of the attacks. Nearby in Nikopol, Russian shells fell all weekend damaging homes and cars. One

injury reported there.

And there is more fallout from what is being called an accidental missiles strike on a Polish farm last week. Two people killed. NATO and Poland

concluded the missile likely was fired by Ukrainian Air Defense Forces. Germany offering Poland and missile defense system to avoid such incidents

in the future.

Well, Matthew Chance joining me now from Kyiv. What will it take to get Ukraine and Russia to set up a nuclear safety zone around that nuclear

power plant? There are real concerns about its safety on it.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are very, very serious concerns. And they've been expressed by the U.N.'s nuclear

watchdog the IAEA. You mentioned it there. The chief of the IAEA saying that the various parties are playing with fire, because some of the strikes

that have been taking place particularly over the past 24 hours at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power plant which is the biggest nuclear power plants

in Europe have been extraordinarily close to the critical infrastructure at the plant.

Not kilometers, but just meters away. And so it's obviously very, very dangerous situation. And so far, I guess that they've been lucky because

there hasn't been any leak of radiation. There hasn't been any serious damage done to the critical infrastructure to keep that power plant safe.

But that's just really, you know, coincidental given the extent of the bombardment has been taking place in the region around it is right smack in

the middle of the war zone.

Now, both sides accuse each other of carrying out the strikes against the power plant. The Russians say it's Ukrainian artillery, the Ukrainian say

it's the Russians. The Russians are in charge of that area, they've occupied that area. And so, that's another obviously a bone of contention.

But whoever it is the U.N. nuclear watchdog saying that all sides should stand back, they should really take into account the serious consequences

of what would happen.

What could happen if a shell lands in a critical part of that nuclear power plant. And there's a release of radioactive material and declare the area,

you know, kind of a sort of fire free zone. That's not happening at the moment. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, particularly in that area

is particularly ferocious right now and neither side is showing any signs of stepping back, Becky.

ANDERSON: Matthew Chance is on the story for you. Thanks, Matt.

Well in the next couple of hours, police in Colorado are expected to release more details about Saturday's deadly shooting at an LGBTQ

nightclub. Five people were killed, more than two dozen were injured when a gunman entered the club and started shooting late on Saturday. Police say

the attacker might have done even more damage, but two people in the club were able to restrain him.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the shooting senseless and said threats of violence against the LGBT community are increasing. Let's get you to CNN's

Rosa Flores who is in Colorado Springs in Colorado. What do we know so far about the alleged shooter any clues as to whether this may be or is a hate


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Becky, the district attorney has said that while investigators are not saying that they're investigating

this as a hate crime, the D.A. went that far as saying that this is being investigated through the lens of a hate crime. Here's what we know from

police. According from -- according to police at about 11:56, 57 p.m. On Saturday, that's when the first 911 call came in to dispatch.

About a few minutes later that's when the first officer arrived on scene, two minutes later, that's when the suspect was taken into custody. Now

according to witnesses, according to police what happened inside -- what happened inside, excuse me, we're having a few technical issues. What

happened inside excuse me, we're having a few technical issues.


What happened inside was horrific. According to police soon after the suspect entered club Q, that's when he started shooting. Now, shortly after

that, the patron ran towards that gunfire and subdued the suspect. Now according to police, the suspect had two weapons, including a rifle the

other weapon, unclear exactly what that was. But police do say that those two weapons were recovered on the scene.

As for the motive, again, the district attorney saying that it is being investigated through the lens of a hate crime. But I can tell you, for

people that I've talked to you're on the ground from this community, they point to a hate crime because this is one of two LGBTQ clubs here in

Colorado Springs. This is their safe haven. This place was where they could go and feel safe. And now that's been shattered. It's been turned into a

crime scene.

Now five individuals are dead. 25 others were injured, some of them still fighting for their lives today. And Becky, I should add that the -- that

the names of the victims have not been released yet, but some of the family members are starting to identify them and really grieve with this community

as everyone asks themselves the same question. Why? A very simple question. But why? Why did this happen here in this small community?

ANDERSON: Rosa Flores is in Colorado Springs in Colorado, thank you. Well, politics and protests loom large as England and Iran faced off here in

Qatar. We'll dig into the latest from that highly anticipated football match with our World Sport colleagues just ahead.


ANDERSON: All right. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in Doha in Qatar at the World Cup. You are watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD.

England and Iran have just wrapped up what was a highly anticipated match on what is day two because the opener was yesterday. Qatar Ecuador but many

people feel like this is day one here in Qatar.


It was a soaring victory for England winning six-two. And it's not just the game that has fans talking. Both sides, making political statements just

before kickoff. CNN World Sport anchor Don Riddell joins me from outside the stadium. You've just left the game on the pitch this tournament now

very much underway. Let's start then, with the match and a strong performance and a win for England. How please will they be?

DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORTS ANCHOR: Oh, there'll be absolutely surreal, Becky. Of course, England going to the semifinals in the World Cup in

Russia four years ago, they want to go further than that this time and they really couldn't have asked for a better start. They took control in this

game. Pretty early on. Jude Bellingham who's just 19 years of age, his first international goal will be memorable.

And that really set England up, they were dominating this game by halftime. There was a terrific atmosphere. The atmosphere, though, really subsided in

the second half because it was over as a contest. Iran got themselves a couple of constellation goals. But they were well beaten. And that now

means that in this World Cup, the two most local teams have played in the first two games, Qatar, of course, the hosts, Iran, coming from just over

the Persian Gulf.

Both those teams have been completely outplayed. As you say, this game was highly anticipated not just for the action on the field, but of all the

other drama, and the narratives that were going on around it. Let's talk about England first. Of course, Premier League players are known to take

the knee occasionally before games. They decided to do it as a team here today as a message of inclusivity.

And the relevance of them doing that in Qatar where human rights and civil rights are often denied. Cannot be understated that they did that here

today. Of course, you've got the Iran team playing against the backdrop of the demonstrations and the protests that have been going on in Iran now

into their third month. The response from the government has been brutal, violent, and deadly.

We saw some Iran fans here before the game wearing protest T-shirts, freedom T-shirts, a lot of those fans didn't want to speak to us. They

really did not want to speak to us at all. But we managed to speak to a couple of fans who were born in Iran and now live in California. And this

is what they had to say about how they feel about what's going on and why they were wearing the T-shirts.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The message is very simple. So people love Iran, we are supporting people of Iran freedom. So we are -- we want to be a voice of

Iranians in the World Cup. So, this is not about soccer team this year. This is about freedom for you. So that's what we are gathering here to

supporting, you know, they are killing our people in Iran. They're killing like youngsters, the kids you know, so -- but this time is going to be


I'll have a message for them. This time is not going to be like the other time. This time the whole Iran is united. So this is going to be different.

Already three years of dictatorship is end. This is -- this -- you guys got to go. This is (INAUDIBLE)


RIDDELL: Those supporters told me before the game that they were hoping that the players would show a sign that they were in solidarity with the

protesters. They said that would begin with them not singing the anthem. And that's exactly what happened. The players did not sing the anthem and

the Iranian fans that were near us were jubilant. They were cheering throughout the national anthem as their players refused to sing it.

They might have lost the game heavily. But I think for a lot of the fans here, that was a win. Bck to you, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes. Absolutely. Don, thank you. Don Riddell in the house for you and a lot more on the action both on and off the pitch next hour, including

an interview with Fatma Al Nuaimi. She is spokesperson for the Qatar 2022 Supreme Delivery Committee which has organized this World Cup here in Doha.

A lot to discuss when she joins me here on our CNN set.

Just ahead. Well, two top Iranian actresses have been arrested. You're seeing one of them here as Tehran appears to crack down even harder on

protesters there. That coming up after this.



ANDERSON: The brutality has significantly increased. That is coming from a human rights group as Iran's crackdown on protesters appears to be


ANDERSON: Hengaw Organization for Human Rights tells us this video shows Iranian forces firing in the Turkish city of Javanroud. It's one of several

areas rising up in support of Mahabharata in western Iran which is said to be under attack by regime forces.

Meantime, the U.N. says as many as 14,000 people have been arrested in Iran since the protests broke out sparked by the death of course in custody of

Mahsa Amini. Now, two prominent Iranian actresses have also been detained.

This Instagram video was posted by one of them and as you can see here, Hengameh Ghaziani appeared in public without her hijab. A major breach of

Iran's strict dress code.

We are also hearing that a Sikh protester has been sentenced to death. Let me bring in CNN's Jomana Karadsheh who has been covering these protests

since the onset. There's a couple of things going on here. I think we should start specifically with what we know about further protests being

sentenced to death at this point. What are the details?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very disturbing developments, Becky. The Iranian regime through its state media announcing

on Sunday that they've sentenced a sixth protester to death in a revolutionary court into Iran. This is of course, the sixth death sentence

to be handed down to a protester since last Sunday. So within a week, they were accusing this protester who they haven't named of blocking traffic and

assaulting members of the Basij security forces.

Human rights groups have been slamming the Iranian regime for what they are calling this weaponizing of the death penalty, using it as a tool of

political repression to try and crush the ongoing protests in the country as it's struggling to contain this national uprising and a lot of concern

they say that we will be seeing potentially more of these death sentences in what they're describing as sham trials.

But I can tell you, Becky, this has really not impacted the protests since the announcement of the first death sentences. Last week, we have seen some

of the most widespread, some of the most intense protests we have seen to date across the country. There's been a lot of demonstrations taking place

in the Kurdish region of Iraq -- Iran in the western part of the country and a lot of concern about a very, very bloody crackdown that is ongoing


According to Human Rights monitor Hengaw, they are telling us that since these demonstrations really erupted this new wave last week, at least 42

people they say have been killed, but the numbers could be much higher. They are very concerned about the situation right now in a number of towns

and cities there, especially the town of Javanrud where they say that security forces have increased brutality significantly, that they are

firing directly and deliberately at protesters and into the homes of civilians.


They are very worried about what's happening about an escalation specially, as we are hearing the regime saying that it has sent reinforcements from

its security forces with reports that the Revolutionary Guard Corps has also sent reinforcements to the area they say, to confront terrorist and

separatists. That narrative that the regime has been really pushing for weeks now, but this is what is going on in the Kurdish region, Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you. Jomana Karadsheh is on the story for you. And stay tuned to CNN for an exclusive report we're releasing today on "AMANPOUR."

Nima Elbagir reports on the brave Iranian women and men exposing a pattern of repression. They say some security forces at detention centers in Iran

are sexually assaulting and raping protesters. Here's a brief excerpt of her reporting.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is Hannah, not her real name, a Kurdish Iranian woman recently

smuggled out of Iran. She fears for her life. After taking off and burning her headscarf on the streets, she was arrested and detained by Iranian

intelligence officers.

They choose the women who were pretty and suited their appetites. Then the officer would take one of them from the cell to a smaller private room.

They would sexually assault them there.


ANDERSON: Well, tune in Amanpour at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. That's 6:00 p.m. in London, your work out what the times are locally wherever you are

watching for that exclusive report. World Sport is up next but before we get to that all this week, we will be looking at startups around the world

and what they need to do to become successful. Hub71 is a flagship Abu Dhabi program, helping young entrepreneurs taking that leap. Have a look.


ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A startup success lies in its ability to scale and that rarely comes cheap. Entrepreneurs like Nadim Habr

are always on the hunt to secure funding.



HABR: How are you? How's everything.

BINALI: Great. Great.

HABR: Good to see you again. So --

GIOKOS: Nadim is part is part of Hub71, a government initiative aimed at attracting and growing startups. Today he's meeting with Mohamed Binali, a

Hub71 employee who helps connect startups with venture capital firms in the region.

BINALI: I send a follow up to (INAUDIBLE)

HABR: Keep (INAUDIBLE) He seemed excited about it. So hopefully I think that will be good for you.

Fundraising is one of the most challenging parts I would say. Usually for founders. It's really a complete hustle. Like everything else in a startup

but having as well, backers and renowned backers like the ones we already have and the right partners, so Hub71 is one of them to be able to help us

and our fundraisers is a crucial part because at the end of the day, it's a network effect.

GIOKOS: Hub71 launched in 2019 since then it has helped more than 100 companies set up their businesses, obtain office space, source talents, and

perhaps most importantly, secure funding. Startups in the program have collectively raised more than $400 million since 2019. Nadim and his CTO

Chati Kalich (ph) are trying to get a piece of that pie and secure $3 million for the tech startup DesignHub.

HABR: For now the camera is recognizing my face taking dimensions.

GIOKOS: Their company provides augmented reality solutions for E-commerce brands, allowing users to try on products virtually before purchasing them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Synthetic data now. OK. I think we'll go through like the volume and big volume of that data.

HABR: They say they've worked with major brands like Samsung, Microsoft, Oracle and IKEA, just to name a few. The two hope to tap into Hub71's ones

network of venture capital to close their funding round by the end of this year and take their company to the next level.

Eleni Giokos, CNN.