An Australian comedian has confronted Indian and Bangladeshi World Cup fans wearing Brazilian jerseys and accused them of being ‘fake’ as videos surfaced of fans in identical uniforms wearing jerseys from different countries.
Jon-Bernard Kairouz took to the streets of Qatar to confront fans in a video titled ‘World Cup Fake Fans’, following Brazil’s opening match against Serbia.
It comes after videos shared online show large groups of men, mostly of Indian and Bangladeshi origin, wearing the colors of national teams including England, Brazil, Germany and Argentina, leading to speculation of that Qatar had “hired” them to create the atmosphere for the competition.
Kairouz asks if the ‘fans’ are from Brazil, and they all explain that they are from Bangladesh or India, in a video shared on TikTok on Saturday.
Kairouz, ask the fans: ‘Did FIFA pay you to be here?’
Without hesitation, the fans answered ‘yes’, with one explaining that he is ‘actually an Argentina fan’ but was paid to support Brazil.
Australian comedian Jon-Bernard Kairouz (pictured left to right) interviews fans wearing Brazilian jerseys outside a soccer stadium in Qatar. The men, who were from Bangladesh and India, admitted that they were paid by FIFA to attend the match.
When asked to pick their favorite player from the Brazilian lineup, the men named one player, 30-year-old striker Neymar.
The men were completely stumped when Kairouz asked them to name another player from the country team.
‘I don’t know,’ said a man.
“To be honest, I don’t know about this,” said another.
A third added: ‘not really, I’m not a football fan, I’m a cricket fan.’
The video was shared with their 13.3 million followers, sparking a huge debate after Kairouz suggested they were fake.
Some claimed that the men were not explicitly paid to attend the matches, but instead were given free tickets after working to build the stadiums.
“What they meant by saying that FIFA paid them to be there is actually most of them are construction workers and they came to Qatar to work,” one user wrote.
“These guys worked on building the stadiums and gave them tickets,” a second user commented.
A third added: “A lot of these guys worked there in construction and they probably get a free pass.”
One man said he was “actually a fan of Argentina” but was paid to support Brazil, before telling Kairouz he was not a football fan but a cricket fan.
They all named Neymar as their favorite player, but were stumped when Kairouz asked them to identify another player in the Brazil line-up.
Others questioned whether the edited video was true, arguing that fans can support a team no matter what country they come from.
‘The video is trimmed and edited between interviews. Not sure if this is true,” one user commented.
‘Why do you call them ‘fake fans’? It doesn’t matter where they are from, if they support Brazil, support Brazil, who are you to call them ‘fake?’ another user wrote.
“I’m from Afghanistan and I’m a fan of the Brazil soccer team,” added another.
A TikTok user, who is from Bangladesh, explained that Brazil and Argentina are the two favorite soccer teams in the country, so there are many Bangladeshi Brazil fans in Qatar.
It comes after images emerged of various ‘fan parades’ in Doha, including celebrations with supporters reportedly from England, Brazil, Argentina and several other nations.
But fans were skeptical, with some accusing the Qatari authorities of paying migrant workers to dress up in support of different nations, something Qatar strongly denies.
Qatar has denied claims it paid for fake fans, arguing that soccer was very popular with its Indian community.
The Qatari government claims that the large Indian population in the country are true football fans who support various national teams from around the world.
Gianni Infantino dismissed suggestions that the fans were disingenuous as racist in a press release earlier this month where he defended the Qatari regime and accused Europeans of double standards.
In an extraordinary hour-long speech, the FIFA president said: “I’m reading that these people don’t look English so they can’t cheer for England, they look like Indians.” What’s that? Can someone who looks like an Indian not cheer for England, Spain or Germany?
‘Know what it is? It’s racist, pure racist.
He also said: ‘I think because of what we Europeans have been doing for the last 3,000 years, we should apologize for the next 3,000 years before we start giving people moral lessons.
The FIFA president called allegations that fans had been paid to express their support “purely racist”.
Gianni Infantino condemned allegations that Indian football fans were paid actors
‘Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel (like) a migrant worker.
‘Of course I’m not Qatari, I’m not Arab, I’m not African, I’m not gay, I’m not disabled. But I feel like it, because I know what it means to be discriminated against, to be intimidated, as a foreigner in a foreign country. When I was a kid, I was bullied, because I had red hair and freckles, and I was Italian, so go figure.
‘What do you do then? Try to compromise, make friends. Don’t start accusing, fighting, insulting, start compromising. And this is what we should be doing.
World Cup CEO Nasser Al Khater claimed that football was very popular among Indians in Qatar and rejected the idea that the fans were fake.
He said: ‘We have a lot of genuine supporters in Qatar who are from South India who love football and are genuine fans.
They are true soccer fans.