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Qatar World Cup bosses responded to accusation of ‘paying’ fans in…

Qatari officials have criticized suggestions that ‘fake’ fans have been deployed in the country ahead of the World Cup. Videos on social media appeared to show supporters lining the streets dressed in merchandise from different countries.

Doubts were raised over the authenticity of what were believed to be Indian expatriates dressed in merchandise from England, with clips showing them marching on the roads. Those fans have insisted that they are genuine supporters of the Three Lions and have not been paid to promote the World Cup.

Qatar has now rejected scrutiny over whether the fans are ‘real’, lamenting that such claims are not ‘surprising’. “With four days to go before the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, anticipation and excitement is building in Qatar as we prepare to welcome the world,” the Qatar World Cup Supreme Committee said in a statement.

“Fans from all over the world, many of whom have made Qatar their home, have recently contributed to the local atmosphere, organizing fan walks and parades across the country and welcoming the various national teams to their hotels.

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“Journalists on the ground who talk to and meet these fans are realizing it. We look forward to the continued build up to the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and it truly represents a connecting moment for fans around the world, however they choose to support their favorite teams.”

The World Cup begins on Sunday when hosts Qatar take on Ecuador after the opening ceremony. England begin their tournament campaign the following day against Group B opponents Iran.

Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions arrived in the Middle East on Tuesday after spending Monday at their St. George’s Park training base. Some players are expected to take part in an open training session on Wednesday, although the team’s fitness will be closely monitored.



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