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England fans banned from dressing as crusaders at World Cup matches

Clips of fans in costumes at the match against Iran drew criticism.

England fans banned from dressing as crusaders at World Cup matches in Qatar Getty Images

FIFA have banned England supporters from dressing as crusaders when supporting their national team at the World Cup in Qatar.

The decision comes after social media clips of fans wearing fake chainmail and carrying plastic swords and shields emblazoned with the St George’s cross were stopped by security guards on their way in to match against Iran on Monday.

That drew a wave of criticism for being culturally insensitive, and now tournament organisers FIFA have stepped in ahead of the game against USA in Al Khor on Friday.

A spokesperson is quoted by the Times newspaper as saying that the organisation “strives to create a discrimination-free environment, to promote diversity across the organisation and in all of its activities and events”.

It added: “Crusader costumes in the Arab context can be offensive against Muslims. That is why anti-discrimination colleagues asked fans to wear things inside out or change dress.”

Anti-racism charity Kick It Out also issued advice.

A spokesperson said: “We would advise fans who are attending FIFA World Cup matches that certain attire, such as fancy-dress costumes representing knights or crusaders, may not be welcomed in Qatar and other Islamic countries.

“Foreign Office travel advice issued before the tournament expressed that fans should familiarise themselves with local customs, and we would encourage fans to take this approach.”

FIFA have also issued an update on rainbow-coloured attire after some controversy in the opening games. Fans have been told that flags and clothes with rainbows will be allowed in stadiums.