Thousands of football fans are travelling to Qatar for the World Cup. The country is set to welcome over one million international visitors for the tournament. However, despite the popularity of the event, the number of fans who have registered for tickets is significantly lower than previous World Cups. This is according to research by The Athletic.
In addition, reports of fake fans are widespread on social media. According to these reports, Qatar is employing migrant labourers to pose as sports enthusiasts. However, the World Cup organizers have dismissed these claims, saying they are false.
One fan who has travelled to Qatar from India is Naaji Noushi. A 33-year-old homemaker from Mahe in southern India, he has travelled over two thousand kilometres to the World Cup. He will spend a month in Doha. In addition, he is planning to take his son to watch England’s group matches.
Many fans are staying in tents, which are made of thick plastic. Some are sporting painted faces and national flags. Others are sporting sporting banners. Fans are also complaining that the tents are very hot. They say staying inside is “unbearable”.
A video from the week before the World Cup’s opening ceremony has emerged showing an England team being welcomed to Qatar with a “warm welcome”. The video has revealed that the “fans” are Indian expats from Kerala.
However, the World Cup organizers have dismissed claims that Qatar is employing fake fans. They have also said that the real fans will be selected to perform at the opening ceremony, but they won’t be paid for their role. The selected fans will be given tickets to the opening match. They will not have to participate in any other events.
The Fan Leader Network, which is part of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the Qatari World Cup agency, has recruited fans from around the world. They have offered fans travel and accommodation, as well as a place at the opening ceremony. In exchange, they must promote the event on social media and report any offensive comments they see.
The Fan Leader Network is an initiative of the Qatar World Cup Committee, which has recruited over 400 fan leaders from 60 countries. The organization has worked on research, message amplification, and fan insight. They have also worked on recruiting fans from around the world to participate in the opening ceremony, but the program excludes obvious political affiliations. The program has been criticized for its lack of transparency. Some fans who have joined the program have complained that they have been forced to like and share posts by third-party sources. In addition, the organization has asked fans to take screenshots of offensive comments, report them, and re-share the posts.
Another organization, Football Supporters Europe, is recognized by UEFA to consult on fan issues. The organization has consulted with the Qatar World Cup Committee on issues regarding fans. This group has also offered fans the opportunity to watch World Cup matches.