World Cup 2022: English fans banned from dressing as Medieval Crusaders

Posted by DG, Date posted at December 1, 2022

The latest censorship to happen in the World Cup finds the officials of FIFA grappling for the right words and the right angle on how to present the next new ban on the list of by-the-ways by the Qatar government. 

England fans photo op with English footballer Trevor Sinclair
England fans photo op with English footballer Trevor Sinclair
Image source: Ed Sykes | Action Images | Reuters

In the latest notification, FIFA has told English soccer fans to refrain from wearing imitation chainmail, shields and swords or else they will miss the game. This was reported by the Times of London.

The details from the newspaper show that a FIFA official was quoted as saying, “Crusader costumes in the Arab context can be offensive against Muslims. That is why anti-discrimination colleagues asked fans to wear things inside out or change their dress.”

Advise from the British Foreign Office: “Qatari laws and customs are very different to those in the U.K. Be aware of your actions to ensure that they don’t offend.”

Unfortunately, FIFA was not available for comment. 

This new demand comes on the heels of England’s second match which will be with the US team. Both nations will be gunning for a win for whoever will get past this stage will move forward to the more critical and tougher high-stakes knockout phase. 

The latest match with Iran shows England scoring a great lead with a 6-2 score on Monday. The US team tied 1-1 with Wales — the US is still considered a wild card at this point for they had not qualified for the tournament in decades. 

You might also want to read: World Cup 2022 Iran fans Torn on Cheering for Their Team

Unstoppable signs of protest in the World Cup

Fans and players remain unstoppable in making their voices heard or their sentiments seen during the World Cup. After all, this is a global event and if there are important causes that they take to heart, what’s the better venue to get the point across than to have some exposure on worldwide media? 

For example, German soccer players covered their mouths in a team photo protest ahead of the World Cup match in Qatar.

The US was recently called out for posting the flag of Iraq edited as they saw fit to show empathy towards women’s rights.

The Iran team also refrained from singing their national anthem and this might lead to sanctions as they go home after they got defeated at their last match.

You might also want to read: Qatar World Cup 2022 17,000 fans Missing

What do the medieval costumes hold as ruffling the feathers of Qatari? Symbols and history are connected to said costumes that centered around the Crusades. This was when the Christian kingdoms launched a series of wars on the Muslim-held Holy Land, some aiming to retake Jerusalem to add to their country’s influence and power as well as Christian glory.

The thing is England fans have worn similar outfits at previous tournaments while watching other sports. They were allowed into the stadium wearing their medieval apparel when England slayed Iran. This sudden ban just shows that the Crusades — which happened between the 11th and 13th centuries — still have a bitter taste lingering. 

The Crusades still echoes its influence to the present day

The most recent example of how history still carries on its influence so powerfully was seen in 2019 at Christchurch, New Zealand. Brenton Tarrant — who killed 51 people at two mosques — wrote in his manifesto, “ASK YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD POPE URBAN II DO?,” referring to the pope who called on Europeans to go to war against Islamic forces in the Middle East in 1095, leading to the first Crusade.

President George W. Bush also hinted on the Crusades but not directly — in an infamous quote he uttered when he announced his  “war on terror” in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. “This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while, and the American people must be patient,” he told reporters at the White House on Sept. 15, 2001.

Another perspective on this was from Indian journalist and author Sameer Arshad Khatlani, “I believe global sporting events have a great unifying power to bring the world together and to promote peaceful co-existence. The last thing we need is the promotion of ideas such as the Crusades howsoever inadvertent as they have caused among the worst atrocities in human history.” 

Simon John, a senior lecturer in medieval history at Swansea University in South Wales spoke out, “As soon as you know anything about crusading history, you know it would produce a reaction like this in the Islamic world,” he said. “We’re talking about a period of history that is still very much remembered and talked about in the Muslim world in quite a detailed way — the same is not true in the West.”

With a backgrounder on how the sentiments of different nations are on opposite sides of the spectrum, I do see why the ban on medieval costumes was released as an afterthought. Nevertheless, this can seem trivial compared to the current day issues on human rights that need to be addressed. Any thoughts on this, dear readers? Would a festive cheer overcome such fashion statements? Comment down below as soon as you can. We want to hear from you guys! Cheers!

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