The 2022 FIFA World Cup has not been without its lack of controversy. Qatar has been accused of paying fake fans to cheer for teams in the World Cup. Footage and reports from TikTok creators in Qatar suggest that the supporters appear fake, and all fingers point at the Qatari authorities.
Here’s the account of stories that have taken place.
TikTok comedian encounters Brazil fans
A Tik Tok comedian noticed a group of Indian soccer fans wearing Brazilian jerseys. He pressed a microphone into their faces and grilled them on Brazil’s soccer team. Most of the supposed fans had no answers. This caused the Tik Tok comedian to conclude that the Qatari government paid the fans to be there.
There isn’t much legitimacy supporting this person’s claim since he appeared to have picked a group of Indian men wearing Brazilian jerseys at random. Would a nation be able to support such an intricate strategy to pay off millions of people to act as fans?
Qatar’s community platform
Qatar Living, popularly known as the country’s official community platform, has posted videos of fans from different countries adorning face paint, flags, and banners, on their TikTok account. It’s uncertain whether the fans are migrant workers who live in Qatar or whether authorities have staged the parades.
Some clips show seas of supporters for Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, and England waving flags, chanting, and playing drums as they march through the city roads and waterfront promenades. The so-called fans’ behavior appears to be carefully curated and staged, raising questions about their legitimacy. Social media users claimed to have seen the same “fans” supporting various nations in different videos.
The Supreme Committee’s response
Skeptics have accused the Qatari government of paying migrant workers to dress up in support of different nations. Others have remarked on the lack of female fans in the videos, which adds to the speculation of it being staged.
However, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee rejected these allegations, saying that “their passion for football is authentic.”
The spokesperson for the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy stated that fans all over the globe have contributed to the local atmosphere by organizing fan walks and parades and by welcoming national teams.
Are the fans real?
Several journalists and social media commentators have questioned whether the fans supporting their teams are real. The Supreme Committee dismissed the false but unsurprising claims. According to the spokesperson, Qatar, like the rest of the world, has a diverse fan base with emotional ties to multiple countries.
They went on, saying, “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.”
The World Cup 2022 has affected Qatar’s international reputation. For starters, it exposed Qatar to greater scrutiny and global criticism. The treatment of migrant workers and the working conditions they were subjected to was one of the major factors that caused the first wave of backlash.
Another cause for concern is how the country treats LGBT fans and the threats that people in power have made to curtail the desire of these fans to watch the World Cup. This situation of fake fans is the icing on Qatar’s controversy cake.