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16th Nov 2022

Qatar 2022 organisers reject claims they hired ‘fake fans’ to promote tournament

Callum Boyle

Videos of fans in Qatar have left people suspicious

The Qatar Supreme Committee has rejected claims that they have hired fake fans to promote the tournament after a video of Indian expats supporting England went viral.

The Guardian reported that they had spoken to several of the fans who said they had come from Kerala but displayed great knowledge of the England national team and Premier League.

Other locals have been seen chanting for other nations such as Argentina and Brazil.

A statement from the Supreme Committee said that the allegations were “disappointing and surprising.”

They said: “Fans from all over the world – many of whom have made Qatar their home – have contributed to the local atmosphere recently, organising fan walks and parades throughout the country, and welcoming the various national teams at their hotels.

“Numerous journalists and commentators on social media have questioned whether these are ‘real’ fans. We thoroughly reject these assertions, which are both disappointing and unsurprising.”

In the viral video, dozens of England supporters can be heard chanting “It’s coming home” as well “Southgate is our super coach! Sterling is our super star! Pickford is our super keeper!”

One supporter who was involved in the chants – and had come from Kerala – said that accusations of them being paid by Qatari officials to support England was “fake news.”

“None of us is getting paid,” he said. “We are diehard England fans. My favourite player was Beckham, but now it is Saka. If someone offered to pay us to support England we would turn them down. We are genuine supporters. Many of us grew up watching Beckham and Michael Owen. Our love is to this team.”

The Supreme Committee also added that fans all around the world celebrate in their own unique way.

“Qatar, and the rest of the world, is comprised of a diverse range of football fans, many of whom share emotional connections with multiple nations,” they said.

“In different places around the world, fans have different traditions, different ways to celebrate, and while that may contrast with what people are used to in Europe or South America, it doesn’t mean the passion for football is any less authentic. Journalists on the ground who speak and meet these fans are realising the reality.”

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