Mexico fans have been advised by their government not to wear their colourful ‘Lucha Libre’ wrestling masks at World Cup matches in Qatar to comply with local rules.
Alfonso Zegbe of the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) asked fans not to wear the masks at the World Cup, citing guidance from the tournament’s organising committee, although organisers told Reuters there was no such policy in place.
The masks of classic fighters, such as ‘El Santo’ and ‘Blue Demon’, are popular among Mexico fans, who routinely wear them at international competitions such as the World Cup and the Olympics.
“The latest update from the Organising Committee is that (wrestling) masks will not be allowed,” Zegbe, the SRE’s executive director of Strategy and Public Diplomacy, told ESPN.
“It is important to coordinate with them, tell them that it is the Mexican (tradition) and it’s possible that they will not say anything or they will say, ‘please take them off’. That is why it is recommended not to wear masks.
Reuters has contacted the SRE for further details.
However, Qatar’s World Cup organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), told Reuters there was no policy prohibiting masks at the World Cup.
“Full face masks, such as the famous Mexican wrestling masks, would obviously have to be removed for security reasons heading into a stadium,” the SC wrote in an emailed statement.
“This is no different to a medical mask being requested to be lowered by security, something that we have all witnessed and experienced due to Covid.
“There has been no policy set in place or communicated to say fans won’t be allowed to wear such masks in any of Qatar’s World Cup stadiums or other locations in the country.
“We look forward to welcoming as many Mexican fans as possible next month.”
According to world soccer’s governing body FIFA, Mexico will have one of the biggest fan contingents at the World Cup.
Mexico are in Group C where they will face Poland, Argentina and Saudi Arabia. Their first match is against Poland on Nov. 22.