March 24, 2023

‘Can someone who looks Indian not cheer for England?’: FIFA chief Gianni Infantino rubbishes reports of ‘fake’ fans at the World Cup… labelling claims that Qatar is using paid actors as ‘pure racist’

  • Clips of Indian fans at showing their support for England went viral online
  • Some commenters on social media alleged that the fans were paid actors
  • But FIFA President Gianni Infantino vehemently denied the allegations


Gianni Infantino has hit out at reports of ‘fake’ football fans featured in videos in Qatar ahead of the World Cup.

The controversy emerged after a number of videos were posted online featuring Indian expats expressing their support for Gareth Southgate’s squad in the upcoming tournament.

One particular video of fans engaging in a rendition of David Baddiel, Frank Skinner, and The Lightning Seeds’ 1996 classic ‘Three Lions’ went viral online, with some commenters alleging that the fans were, in fact, paid actors.

Gianni Infantino condemned allegations that Indian football supporters were paid actors

1668854645 263 Gianni Infantino SLAMS reports of fake England fans in Qatar

FIFA President called accusations that the fans had been paid to express support ‘pure racist’ 

Speaking ahead of the tournament’s opener between the hosts and Ecuador on Sunday, Infantino condemned the accusations calling them ‘racist’.

‘I am reading that these people don’t look English so they can’t cheer for England, they look like Indians. What is that? Can someone who looks Indian not cheer for England, Spain or Germany?

‘You know what it is? It is racist, pure racist.’

The fans gathered to show their support for Gareth Southgate's squad as they arrived in Qatar

The fans gathered to show their support for Gareth Southgate’s squad as they arrived in Qatar

The allegations were also denied in a statement by the Supreme Committee, calling reports of fake fans ‘disappointing and unsurprising’

‘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.’

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