England Fans Dressed as "Monty Python" Medieval Knights Detained at World Cup. "Of Course We Aren't Crusaders!"
“Fans should familiarize themselves with local customs.”
And now for something completely different: a group of English soccer supporters dressed up as medieval knights were ordered to remove their outfits before attending England vs. Iran game last week. Qatari security found the Monty Python-esque Crusader costumes inappropriate for the surroundings, and the men were forced to go back to wearing simple England shirts for the match (which England ended up winning 6-0). "It was ridiculous," one of the men, who wishes to remain anonymous, said. Here's what happened.
The two England fans were dressed up as the knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail—coconuts and all—when they fell afoul of Qatari stadium security. "It was ridiculous," one of the men said. "We turned up and the police first told us we couldn't take the swords in, even though they are made out of foam. Then a captain came running after us saying we couldn't wear the chainmail."
According to the men, the Qatari police asked if they were dressed as actual Crusaders. "At one point one of them asked 'Are you Muslim killers?' Of course we aren't Crusaders. We've lived here for years and we have no problems with Muslims at all – we work with them every day," one of the men says. "It took two-and-a-half hours before they eventually let us in, wearing England shirts. This is just total woke madness. I blame FIFA [the international governing body of soccer]. You can't wear anything nowadays without someone taking offense."
The men live and work in Qatar and are worried about what might happen next. "Now we are worried about the Qataris coming after us – they've got cameras everywhere. We were dressed as Monty Python, for god's sake. One of us had coconuts to do the horses clip-clopping from the film. On the way to the stadium everyone loved us, including the Qataris. They took pictures, and they couldn't get enough of us."
FIFA has made it clear that Western fans should not be dressing up in what be considered insensitive costumes. "Crusader costumes in the Arab context can be offensive against Muslims," FIFA said in a statement. "That is why anti-discrimination colleagues asked fans to wear things inside out or change dress."
Other organizations are also warning against dressing up in costumes. "We would advise fans who are attending FIFA World Cup matches that certain attire, such as fancy-dress costumes representing knights or crusaders, may not be welcomed in Qatar and other Islamic countries," says a spokesman for Kick It Out, a charity campaigning against racism and discrimination in football. Foreign Office travel advice issued before the tournament expressed that fans should familiarize themselves with local customs, and we would encourage fans to take this approach."