Gareth Southgate’s England squad arrived at their World Cup base in Doha last night to an enthusiastic if somewhat bizarre reception.
Harry Kane, Jack Grealish, their teammates and dozens of support staff will spend the duration of the tournament at the swanky Souq Al Wakra hotel where hundreds of supporters congregated to mark their arrival.
England play their first match against Iran on Monday, while the tournament begins on Sunday with hosts Qatar facing Ecuador amid a backdrop of controversy.
While Qatar’s human rights record remains firmly under the microscope, the authenticity of supporters attending the event has also been called into question.
It emerged last week that a group of 40 England fans would be paid to attend and deliver positive PR for the gulf state.
England were greeted by what The Times termed ‘expats from India working in Qatar’ yesterday evening. The group, which comprised of around 100 men, wore unofficial merchandise and chanted what could generously be described as an unorthodox rendition of ‘Football’s Coming Home’.
Sajidh, one of those in attendance, a 29-year-old mechanical engineer, refuted claims he and his compatriots were ‘fake’.
Indian ex-pats waiting to greet England at their team hotel. âItâs coming homeâ and âSouthgate is our super coachâ. pic.twitter.com/CW2vCfWm9K
‘None of us are getting paid,’ he said.
Source: Read Full Article