Qatar Accused Of Hiring ‘Fake Fans’, Further Embarassing World Cup 2022

As if building the stadiums wasn't enough...

Qatar has been accused of paying hundreds of ‘fake supporters’ to attend World Cup parades.


The Qatar World Cup hasn’t even started, and already we’ve filled our boots with controversy. The main complaints so far have centred around the country’s human rights abuses and the weather. But if being forced to build a country (and its stadiums) under allegedly horrific conditions wasn’t enough, now migrant workers, it seems, are being paid to do the fans’ job for them too.

WATCH: Qatar accused of hiring ‘fake fans’ for World Cup

Though many football fanatics are outraged by this, saying it’s yet another example of a World Cup being conducted against the spirit of the game, before we chalk this up as yet another example of abuse, we should perhaps acknowledge that from the point of view of a migrant worker, this is actually a much cushier gig (we’re actually quite lucky to be over here calling this out as a matter of poor taste).

It’s also worth pointing out these are still only allegations (at this stage). That said, it looks pretty damning. Just check out the videos and comments on Qatar Living – Qatar’s first official community platform on TikTok – where fans from different countries are supposedly gathered in their hundreds.

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Commenters on TikTok have mocked the videos quite hard. One wrote: “These are just people that live in Qatar that got some t shirts… where’s the real fans?” Another said: “They ordered the fans from wish.” Yet another added: “No wonder I haven’t gotten any scam calls lately.” Others asked: “where the females at?” and “where are the girls dancing samba?” (underneath a video that purports to show Brazilian fans).

“If these people are Portuguese, I’m a Pineapple.”

Angry Twitter user @JR_24X

On Twitter, one enraged user said: “What’s happening in Qatar right now for the World Cup is the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever seen in Football. Due to fans boycotting the Qatar World Cup, they are paying fans to masquerade themselves as supporters of other nations.”

“Anyone that has ever been to a World Cup or a game with Brazilian fans will know that this is not how the Brazilians operate,” the same Twitter user added.

Another Twitter user said it’s actually quite common, writing: “This is actually very common in Asia. I highly doubt that they are paid supporters, as people from Asian countries that have failed to qualify to World Cup have always associated themselves with a country that plays regularly. They even do victory rallies.”

Another said: “Although this is very strange behaviour, it’s not due to fans boycotting. Have a look at ticket sales.”

It’s also possible there is an element of racism or ‘traditional-football-country-ism’ in people’s searing critique of these images. As football is not as big in Qatar as it is in England or Brazil, say, many football fans from these countries see these images coming out of Qatar as inevitably bogus. They may just be unwilling to accept that people from Qatar and co. are true fans.

But that would be a blinkered take on things as well. In fact, a large part of the anger around these videos could be explained as residual anger that the World Cup is being played in Qatar at all. The videos are just another excuse to get all up in arms and have your “it’s a bin fire” preconceptions confirmed.

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That said, Qatar does have a track record of this kind of thing. As reported by The Sun, that ray of light that finds the darkest sh*t on the Internet on the daily, this is not the first time Qatar has been accused of hiring fake fans.

According to The Sun, “In 2014, Qatar was accused of employing migrant workers as sports fans in an effort to make largely empty arenas appear full” and at the time, “migrants said they were attending the Qatar Open of international beach volleyball for the money – not for the sport.”

“Numerous workers said they regularly make up numbers at sports events,” (The Sun).

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The Guardian also reported on this, claiming migrant workers were paid around £3.50 to be volleyball fans.

For those who are still only really interested in the soccer, the World Cup kicks off on November 21st, 3am AEST.

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