Fact Check: Viral 'Boycott Qatar 2022' banner at stadium has nothing to do with Nupur Sharma

A viral photo of a “Boycott Qatar 2022” banner at a stadium falsely claimed to show the aftermath of the diplomatic tensions between India and Qatar following Nupur Sharma's remarks.

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Fact Check: Viral 'Boycott Qatar 2022' banner at stadium has nothing to do with Nupur Sharma
A 'Boycott Qatar 2022 banner was seen at a stadium following India's tussle with Qatar over Nupur Sharma's remarks

While several countries — particularly Muslim-majority nations — have condemned the remarks made by Nupur Sharma on the Prophet Muhammad, social media trends indicate that Qatar in particular has earned the wrath of Indians. Trends like “Qatar Exposed” and “Boycott Qatar Airways” dominated Twitter.

With that in the background, one photo has been shared widely that deserves to be examined. The photo shows a “Boycott Qatar 2022” banner being raised at a stadium. People sharing the photo claimed this was in the aftermath of the diplomatic tensions between India and Qatar following the now-suspended Bharatiya Janata party spokesperson’s comments. Many on Twitter shared the photo with hashtags like “Qatar Exposed”.

The India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) found that this banner had no connection with the recent controversy. Fans of the German football club Freiburg raised this banner before a Bundesliga match at the Europa-Park Stadion on April 02, 2022, in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.

The viral posts are archived here and here.

AFWA Probe

A reverse search of the photo led us to several news reports that published the photo in April this year.

The Guardian used this photo on April 7 in a report on the FIFA World Cup that’s scheduled to be held in Qatar later this year. The Guardian credited the photo to Getty Images.

We found the original photograph on the website of Getty Images. The caption for the photograph was taken by Matthias Hangst said, “Fans of Freiburg display a banner about boycotting the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar before the Bundesliga match between Sport-Club Freiburg and FC Bayern München at Europa-Park Stadion on April 02, 2022, in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.”

This image was also published on websites like the Middle East Monitor and Inside the Games in reports about alleged human rights violations in Qatar.

Amnesty International recently released a report that has alleged human rights violations, exploitation, and deaths of migrant labourers in Qatar while working for the World Cup.

The Guardian noted, “The latest Amnesty International report into private security firms who employ tens of thousands of migrant workers in Qatar is pretty damning. It says they are still subject to ‘forced labour’ and several other cases of abuse and it criticises Fifa for failing “to put in place adequate processes” to address these issues.”

So, it is pretty clear that the viral banner is not about India or the fallout from rising India-Qatar tensions following Nupur Sharma’s comments. It’s about alleged human rights violations and the upcoming football world cup.

INDIA TODAY FACT CHECK
Fact Check: Viral 'Boycott Qatar 2022' banner at stadium has nothing to do with Nupur Sharma
ClaimA "Boycott Qatar 2022” banner was seen at a stadium following India's diplomatic tussle with Qatar over Nupur Sharma's comments on Prophet Muhammad. ConclusionFans of German football club Freiburg unfurled this banner before a Bundesliga match at Europa-Park Stadion on April 02, 2022, in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. It has nothing to do with the ongoing controversy over Nupur Sharma's remarks.
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The number of crows determines the intensity of the lie.

  • 1 Crow: Half True
  • 2 Crows: Mostly lies
  • 3 Crows: Absolutely false
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