Two England fans wearing crusader outfits were banned from the Khalifa International Stadium for Monday’s 6-2 win against Iran to start the 2022 World Cup campaign. And one has since come forward and accused Qatari officials of forcing them not just to remove the £3,000 gear but to strip completely naked before gaining entry.
Authorities in Qatar have started denying supporters draped in the popular fancy dress – complete with metal helmets, chainmail, swords and the St. George’s cross – entry into the country’s stadiums. The crusader history of rape, slaughter and occupation of Arab lands makes the attire heavily offensive in the Middle East.
Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out has warned England fans that ‘knights or crusaders’ may not be found as amusing in Qatar as in previous World Cup host nations. And two males, who live in the Gulf state and helped build the stadiums for the winter tournament, found that out the hard way earlier this week.
FIFA confirmed they were rejected from the stadium in Doha due to being’ offensive to Muslims’, adding that ‘anti-discrimination colleagues asked fans to wear things inside out, or change dress’.
However, the duo has provided a different version of events to the Mail, claiming they were asked whether they were ‘here to kill Muslims’ before being victimised to ‘bullying and vindictive’ treatment by officers.
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And in an even more shocking development, one of the fans who had their expensive outfit confiscated has claimed they were the subjects of ‘ritual humiliation’ in a private room outside the stadium.
The 57-year-old engineer said: “We are both huge fans of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and had our costumes handmade in India – they’re brilliant and cost £3,000 each. But the staff at the security checkpoints first denied us entry because of our helmets. Then they said the shields and rubber swords were a problem; then the tunics were offensive.
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“This went on for two-and-a-half hours and led to us missing the first half, so we decided to ditch all the gear as we’d paid more than £180 for tickets. But as we tried to get in, we were taken into a room and told to strip naked. They didn’t even search us – and it was just ritual humiliation.”
England supporters planning on visiting Qatar during the remainder of the World Cup have been warned to refrain from wearing crusader outfits to avoid being denied entry into stadiums. And this pair’s chilling experience, if it’s to be believed, should be as much of an indicator needed to adhere to that guidance.
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