British media worried about Pakistan’s ‘easy-trigger troops’
British media have expressed fears that England fans could be caught up in the violence and face “trigger-happy troops” from Pakistan who will be monitoring the 2022 World Cup, to be held in Qatar.
Pakistan will send 4,500 troops to act as hired muscle at the World Cup in Qatar – raising fears the rowdy Brits could find themselves in hot water for any perceived anti-social behavior, the Daily Mail reported.
England fans have developed a reputation over the years for partying too much before, during and after tournaments, sparking riots in host countries and prompting bans of the national team from future international competitions.
There have been repeated warnings for fans to exercise caution at this year’s event. Qatar is the first country in the Middle East to host the World Cup, but the tiny nation has come under scrutiny for its human rights record and strict social laws. Traveling fans were asked to respect the customs of the host country.
Today the Pakistani military revealed that 4,500 troops have been deployed to provide security for the 1.2 million fans who are expected to descend on Doha ahead of kick-off on November 20.
A senior army officer told the Telegraph that the troops “will be deployed inside and outside the sites as deemed appropriate by the Qatari authorities”. Most of them will be armed.
Michael Kugelman, director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center, told the publication the decision was “definitely a risk.”
‘The last thing [Pakistan’s army] needs is a new embarrassment, such as nervous, trigger-happy troops in an unfamiliar environment, acting in a way that leads to violence.
The English Football Association was charged in 2021 over chaotic scenes during the Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium which saw fans throwing objects, invading the pitch and booing the Italian national anthem
Eight FIFA officials visited Pakistan in September to provide troops with formal security training.
Up to 4,000 England fans are expected to travel to Qatar for the group stages of the tournament – and that number is likely to increase if the Three Lions progress to the knockout stages.
In the past, the Brits have drawn the ire of host nations for winning, losing or drawing – often destroying pubs, sparking riots and trashing the streets.
The English Football Association was charged in 2021 over chaotic scenes during the Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium which saw fans throwing objects, invading the pitch and booing the Italian national anthem.
Furious fans took to the streets to protest after England’s penalty shootout defeat, and carnage ensued with violent scenes in Leicester Square and Wembley in London.
Police made 86 arrests on match night, including 53 at Wembley, for a number of offenses including public order, ABH, drunkenness and criminal disorder. A total of 19 officers were injured.
Meanwhile, in 2004, Portuguese authorities were horrified after the Euro tournament descended into chaos.
Hundreds of fans – many of them wearing England shirts – broke into violent fights around 1.30am, prompting warnings from the Football Association that the nation’s place in the tournament hinged on good behaviour.
On this occasion – like many others – trouble began when groups of fans gathered in the streets and in nearby bars and clubs, chanting and singing team songs.
They blocked the roads and caused a ruckus and eventually started throwing bottles and chairs at the police.
Reinforcements were called in and police armed with batons tried to disperse the increasingly aggressive crowd. Smaller groups split up and began to turn on each other.
It took several hours for officers to regain control of the crowd and break up the many scrums.
Police made 86 arrests on match night, including 53 at Wembley, for a number of offenses including public order, ABH, drunkenness and criminal disorder. A total of 19 officers were injured
A fan spent two and a half years in a Portuguese prison after the incident. He has always maintained that he did not receive a fair trial and that he did not understand the procedure.
And when England played Marseille on June 15, 1998, the actions of the fans put the whole nation to shame.
For almost two days and two nights there were fights between the English and the Tunisians, the English and French police and sometimes between rival and drunken English groups.
Police used tear gas almost continuously for 12 hours. By the end of the ordeal, more than 100 arrests had been made and 30 people had been taken to hospital.
There have been four stabbings, dozens of assaults, mass robberies and the final nail in the coffin of England’s bid to host the 2006 World Cup.
Violence erupted again in Marseilles in 2016, as England fans who had been drinking most of the day in the Old Port area threw bottles at French officers, who again used tear gas to disperse them.
Police, who were wearing full riot gear, were seen marching towards the hundreds of supporters who fled into the street.
Later, Russian fans joined in the fight, with drunken youths goading each other into a fistfight. Witnesses said anyone who fell to the ground was kicked repeatedly.
A police source at the time told MailOnline: ‘Once again England fans have been drinking strong beer all day and can’t stand alcohol.
The Union of European Football Associations has repeatedly warned in the wake of several major controversies that the England national team risk being sent home in disgrace if the violence between fans continues.
Britain has pledged Royal Navy support to Qatar at the impending World Cup, while Turkey will provide 3,000 riot police and sniffer dogs.
But there are still concerns about possible cultural misunderstandings that could spell trouble for rowdy England fans, even if they’re not breaking any laws.
Chief Constable Mark Roberts, England’s national football policing officer, said last month: “It’s a World Cup in a very different part of the world with a very different culture.”
“One of my fears is that fans who don’t wish to cause trouble act in a way that inadvertently offends or draws attention. Likewise, there may be perceptions from the supporting Qatari police or Turkish police where there is this misunderstanding of what supporters are doing.
“We are all there as guests of the Qataris, so it is their operation.”
There are also concerns about the potential treatment of LGBTQI+ fans, given that homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.
The organizers have repeatedly said that everyone is welcome in Qatar during the World Cup.
Qatar is the first country in the Middle East to host the World Cup, but the tiny nation has come under intense pressure in recent years over its treatment of foreign workers and restrictive social laws.
The country’s human rights record has led to calls on teams and officials to boycott the tournament from November 20 to December 18.
England and Wales – among a host of other nations – plan to wear rainbow colored armbands at the tournament with the words “One Love” engraved on them.
Qatar World Cup chief executive Nasser Al Khater said last month that gay fans were welcome in the country, but again warned of the country’s differing cultural norms.
“Everyone will feel safe in Qatar,” Al-Khater told Sky News.
“We have always said that everyone is welcome here. What we are asking for is respect for our culture.
READ MORE: Emirates passenger testimonials: “We saw the F-16s flying alongside us, they also shut down our internet.”