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Indian expats in Qatar hit back after they're accused of being 'fake' England fans

Jayden Collins

| Last updated 

Indian expats in Qatar hit back after they're accused of being 'fake' England fans

The England squad were welcomed to their team hotel in Qatar's capital city of Doha by a sea of England fans from the Indian state of Kerala.

Thousands of fans have been accused of being ‘fake’ supporters, paid by the Qatari government to act as champions for various national teams.

However, according to The Telegraph, they are actually thousands of middle-class citizens of Kerala who live in Doha and instead choose to back international sides other than their own.

The fans, who stood outside the Souk Al-Wakrah hotel, say they had bought their own tickets and matching fan shirts that they wore.

One supporter, named Gireesh Edavana, told The Telegraph that there were 500 England fans from Kerala in his supporters’ group alone.

He said: “Most of us support England because we loved David Beckham when he was a player.

“It was him who made us England fans. We were really shocked when we saw the news that people were calling us fake fans. We don’t know where it came from.”

Another fan named Anas Hameed claimed that football was as popular as cricket in Kerala.

He said: “We don’t get money from anyone to support England.

“We are real fans.”

The Telegraph reported that the group had their own repertoire of chants and their own rendition of the famous ‘It’s Coming Home’ line.

Meanwhile, Fox Sports reports that other Indian residents had rubbished claims they had been paid to parade the streets as fans.

One supporter named Sajidh said: "It is purely fake news and I would like to say loud and clear that none of us have been paid in any way.

“We are diehard England fans. Since childhood, my favourite player has been David Beckham. We have got Wayne Rooney fans, we have got Michael Owen fans."

Another fan, by the name of Anas said: “This has hurt us a lot.”

“People just do not realise how much football excitement there is in Kerala.”

At the previous World Cup a 25 metre sculpture of Harry Kane was erected in one Kerala city.

Anas added: “We watch the Premier League every weekend. We come from India but they have not qualified so people choose the team they want to support.”

Football fans online became a bit suspicious of TikTok account ‘Qatar Living’ after it began posting videos of fans from different countries all gathered together.

The Sun reports that ‘fans’ have been filling the streets in Doha a week before the tournament begins, donning flags, banners, and painted faces.

Clips have included ‘fans’ from Argentina, Brazil, England, Portugal, and many others.

However, the behaviour of the supporters looks to be incredibly staged, with questions being raised about the legitimacy of supporters.

SPORTbible reached out to England Fans Kerala for comment.

Featured Image Credit: @seaningle/Twitter. @SabjiHunter/Twitter.

Topics: Football, Football World Cup, England, Qatar

Jayden Collins
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