Concerns have been raised about the safety of football fans and teams heading to Qatar for the World Cup after it emerged supporters of the Islamic State have encouraged its members to carry out terrorist attacks at the tournament in the Middle East, according to reports.
Gareth Southgate’s England side are one of the 32 teams heading for the month-long tournament in the Gulf despite issues relating to workers’ human rights abuse and the country’s ideology concerning the illegality of homosexuality in Qatar, and could be facing the threat of attacks whilst in the country.
According to Spanish outlet Marca, messaging app Telegram has been used by supporters as a platform for IS supporters to send cryptic messages which involve detailed plans of attacks.
The report claims their plan is to plot attacks on the tournament by targeting individual nations that have attempted or successfully helped fight against the Islamic State, which would include teams from Western countries.
The attacks have been justified by the IS as “cleansing campaigns” to supporters, with terrorists told to carry out attacks by being encouraged to “be part of the World Cup in Qatar and score your goals. The goal is open.
” While some messages are more cryptic, others have referred to “violent and biological” acts against their perceived enemies.