FIFA has let England fans know that they can’t wear replica crusader costumes to Friday’s men’s World Cup match against the United States, after some supporters showed up in chainmail and plastic helmets for England’s game against Iran earlier this week.
“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 told Reuters.
Videos showed fans dressed up in full crusader garb, including the chainmail, fake shields, and toy swords. Some clips showed fans being apparently turned away by stadium security.
The costumes were seen as insensitive given that the crusades involved Christian Europeans invading and waging a religious war on parts of the Middle East in order to take Jerusalem and other land from Muslim control.
FIFA has cracked down on other symbols deemed disrespectful to the host country of Qatar. Some fans reported they were barred from attending a Wales game for wearing rainbow colors in support of LGBTQ rights, though FIFA reversed that rule, Sky News reported.
And teams were pressured to not wear armbands that signaled support for LGBTQ rights. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.
Room for Disagreement
Richard Spencer, the Middle East Correspondent for The Times, questioned whether everyday Qatari residents would be offended by the costumes.
“As someone pointed out, they won.”