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England fans may be banned from game with US tonight



FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – England fans at the Red Lion pub ahead of England v United States – Doha, Qatar – November 25, 2022. England fans at the Red Lion pub ahead of England v United States REUTERS/Lee Smith

The fans of England may be banned from attending the Group B match of their country with USA this evening at the Al Bayt Stadium.

The ban could also extend to future games of England at this edition of the World Cup. The potential ban is hinged on the crusader replica costume they wore in their opening match with Iran.

The crusader replica costumes  are considered culturally insensitive in a Muslim country, FIFA has said.

England supporters have used imitation chain-mail armour, plastic helmets and toy weapons as a fancy dress for games for years.

But images of some fans dressed as crusaders at Monday’s 6-2 win over Iran in the Qatari capital Doha were criticised online, prompting the sport’s world governing body to crack down on the costumes.

“These costumes in an Arab or Middle Eastern context can be perceived as being offensive so that’s the reason for them not being permitted in stadiums,” a FIFA spokesperson said.


For many Arabs, the word crusade summons up a painful history of violent invasion by Christians seeking to capture Jerusalem and nearby areas under Islamic rule in the 11th to 13th centuries.

Issues around culture and rights have been in focus almost as much the soccer at the World Cup in Qatar.

Some Wales fans were ordered to remove hats with the rainbow colours of the LGBT community at their team’s first match of the tournament against the United States earlier this week.

Same-sex relations are illegal in Qatar.

Welsh football authorities said on Thursday that FIFA had confirmed that supporters with rainbow-coloured hats and flags would be allowed entry to the stadium for Wales’ match against Iran on Friday, which Wales lost 2-0. .


The captains of England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark this week dropped their plans to wear armbands to back gay rights under pressure from FIFA

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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