The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee has rejected claims by Western media that there are fake paid football fans at the World Cup, after videos of Indian expats cheering for the England team in Doha went viral on social media. .
Indian fans, mostly from the southern Indian state of Kerala, expressed outrage at being labeled “fake”. As the England team bus pulled up in the dark at their hotel in Doha, drums and horns were proudly played by Indian fans, who proudly wore England jerseys and carried England flags, AFP reported.
In a statement, the Supreme Committee said it rejected the allegations of fake fans, calling them “disappointing and unsurprising.”
“Fans from all over the world, many of whom have made Qatar their home, have added to the local atmosphere recently, organizing fan walks and parades across the country and welcoming the various national teams to their hotels,” he said in a statement. .
“Numerous journalists and commentators on social media have questioned whether these are ‘real’ fans. We completely reject these claims, which are both disappointing and unsurprising.”
“This is demeaning, there is a lot of frustration,” Ameen Sharak, an Indian woman based in Doha who works as an accountant, told AFP.
“This is purely fake news and I would like to say loud and clear that none of us have been paid in any way,” said Sajidh, 29. He went on to say: “We are die-hard England fans. Since I was a child, my favorite player has been David Beckham. We have Wayne Rooney fans, we have Michael Owen fans.”
“This has hurt us a lot,” another fan, Anas, told the news agency. “People just don’t realize the football excitement in Kerala.”
The Supreme Committee further told football fans differently depending on where in the world they were.
“Qatar, and the rest of the world, is made up of a wide range of soccer fans, many of whom share emotional connections with multiple nations,” he said. “In different parts of the world, fans have different traditions, different ways of celebrating, and while that may contrast with what people are used to in Europe or South America, it doesn’t mean the passion for soccer is any less authentic. The journalists on the ground who talk to and meet these fans are realizing it.”