2022 FIFA World Cup: Al Jazeera report on Ukrainian fans fake


The video appears to be an Al Jazeera report about Ukrainian fans defacing posters with Nazi symbols at the World Cup, but the video is fake.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is underway in Doha, Qatar and will continue through Dec. 18. Since the first match, VERIFY has been fact-checking images and videos claiming to come from the tournament. 

A video posted to Twitter on Nov. 22 claims to show an Al Jazeera news report about Ukrainian fans. The report alleges the fans were arrested by Qatari police for vandalism after they added Nazi symbols to FIFA posters. The video racked up more than 180,000 views.

The Russian embassy in the United Kingdom also shared a screenshot from the video, along with a tweet that said: “After sobering up, [Ukrainian] fans were surprised to find out that the “immunity” granted by some Western countries to Ukrainian neo-Nazis cannot be enjoyed in normal countries like #Qatar.”

THE QUESTION

Is the Al Jazeera news report of drunk Ukrainian fans arrested for Nazi vandalism real?

THE SOURCES

  • Al Jazeera spokesperson
  • Analysis of verified Al Jazeera social media channels

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, the video is not a real Al Jazeera report.

WHAT WE FOUND

The video was edited to appear like a report from Al Jazeera, but the video is fake. There have been no reports of any Ukrainian fans being arrested in Ukraine, and a VERIFY analysis found there was no evidence Al Jazeera ever made such a report on any of their official social media accounts. 

An Al Jazeera spokesperson told VERIFY in an email: “The video in question is completely fake and Al Jazeera never published this or any other material related to it.”

Al Jazeera also tweeted about the video on Nov. 24 saying: “A video on social media attributed to Al Jazeera has been circulating referring to the arrest of Ukrainian fans during the FIFA World Cup. The video in question is completely fake and Al Jazeera has never published any news related to this story.” 

The video was made to look like an Al Jazeera report by including the Al Jazeera logo and branding elements similar to what is used by the news organization on its videos posted to social media (see examples of real reports here and here). 

While the video may look real at first glance, there are key mistakes that further point to its inauthenticity. The grammar and punctuation seen in the doctored video is inconsistent with Al Jazeera’s reporting from the World Cup. The name of the FIFA mascot, La’eeb, is misspelled in the video and the name of the stadium where the posters were purportedly vandalized – the World Cup’s Al Bayt stadium – is also misspelled.

In addition, Ukraine didn’t qualify for the 2022 World Cup at all. They lost their bid for a trip to the tournament after losing 1-0 to Wales in June.

The reference that the Ukrainian fans were posting Nazi symbolism plays into a narrative used in Russia, including by Russian president Vladimir Putin, who said his invasion of Ukraine was a mission to “demilitarize and denazify” the country.

VERIFY reached out to FIFA, the Qatari government and Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment on any arrests and did not hear back at the time of publishing.

More from VERIFY: These 3 videos aren’t actually from the 2022 World Cup

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