World

Are fans bought here marching through the streets?

Fan parades parade through the capital of the desert state of Qatar shortly before the start of the World Cup. The images cause confusion – what is real about them?

A Germany fan in Qatar.

A Germany fan in Qatar.AFP/Odd Andersen

This year’s host of the World Cup is apparently using unusual methods to create atmosphere in the country. Numerous videos are currently circulating on social networks showing how supposed fans are exuberantly parading through the streets shortly before the start of the World Cup in Qatar – but the parades don’t look particularly authentic.

For example, videos of the fan elevators in Doha caused a lot of ridicule on Twitter. The clips show how alleged Argentinian fans dance happily through the street to oriental sounds. Another video shows a group of alleged Germany fans that has been put together in a visually effective way. A man calls out in English: “Who will win the World Cup?”, whereupon the group chants in unison: “Germany!”. Users now suspect that the fan parades are staged.

“Fantastic, I would have loved to have been there at the meeting where these ‘fan marches’ were thought up and planned,” comments one user. “‘Nobody notices, we make it look really real!'” Many users also vent their anger in view of the parades. The World Cup 2022 is a “ridiculous overall product”, writes one user. To do this, he uses the hashtag “BoycottQatar2022”.

“Fake fans” are said to belong to a dubious network

According to an ARD report, Qatar should give the disguised fans money for their whimsical elevators. The “followers” of the 32 participating countries should therefore ensure that the host is presented in a good light in the social networks. Flights, accommodation and pocket money are included for participants in the so-called “Fan Leader Network”.

The Organizing Committee of the World Cup (SC) confirms financial donations, but denies that the supporters are “bought”: “This claim is absolutely false. All fans visiting Qatar as our guests do so voluntarily and unpaid. You have no obligation to post or share any content provided by the SC or report any content on our behalf,” the committee of sports buzzer quoted.

As the portal reports, the “Fan Leader Network” started about a year ago. Around 450 fans from 59 countries are said to be involved. Since then, nationals of the countries living in the desert emirate would promote the tournament. A group of these sponsored fans is also said to have attracted attention with racist, homophobic and sexist pictures and comments in chats.

Qatar has long been criticized for human rights violations and the treatment of workers from other countries. The Gulf state, for its part, points to reforms and faces a campaign. The many scandals have consequences. Many fans and locals have announced that they will boycott the World Cup this year. It starts on November 20th and ends on December 18th.

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