False: Three Ukrainian football fans were arrested for Nazi graffiti at the World Cup stadium in Qatar.

By: Laura Vitelli
December 5 2022

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False: Three Ukrainian football fans were arrested for Nazi graffiti at the World Cup stadium in Qatar.


The Verdict False

Several independent analysts and news outlets, including Al Jazeera itself, have confirmed that this video is fake.

Claim ID 5065894e


A fake video attributed to Qatari news outlet Al Jazeera purports to show Nazi graffiti left by Ukrainian football fans during the first game of the World Cup in Qatar on November 20. The video first appeared on Tuesday, November 22, claiming that fans were arrested after adding the words 'Sieg Heil' and a Hitler-style mustache to a poster of Laib, the mascot of the FIFA World Cup. It has been shared thousands of times across social media and private messaging platforms, particularly Twitter and Telegram.

In Fact

Al Jazeera has confirmed that the video is fake. The video is designed to imitate the style of Al Jazeera's other social media clips, including a watermark in one corner. However, no such news story can be found on Al Jazeera's website or any other news outlet's website. Furthermore, there has not been any reported mention of the story from Ukrainian diplomats who, if the story were true, would have been immediately notified about the arrest and detention of Ukrainian citizens – especially if the charges concerned allegations of nazism.

The video itself contains several clues that reveal it is fake. For example, the stadium's name is misspelled as El Beit (instead of Al Bayt). The omission of the three Ukrainians' names, ages, or any other personal information is not typical of how police reports or press releases are written, nor is it consistent with Al Jazeera's journalistic style or standards. Additionally, the footage accompanying the caption that alleges the Ukrainians did not resist arrest may not be from Qatar at all, as the officer's uniform shown in the footage does not match the uniforms used by Qatari World Cup security forces. Brecht Castel, a fact checker from the Belgian media outlet Knack, analyzed the video. He found that the image of the alleged graffiti was photoshopped, as the parts containing the graffiti had a different resolution than the rest of the picture.

A reverse Yandex image search using screenshots taken from the video shows that the footage showing Ukrainian fans at the stadium predates this year's World Cup in Qatar. The footage was previously used in a TV report published on February 4, 2022, by a Russian media outlet to illustrate an article about an indoor football match. This would seem to support Al Jazeera's suggestion that the video may be linked to Russian anti-Ukraine propaganda efforts: "Since the World Cup is the most publicized global event this year, anything related to it could be widely circulated among tens if not hundreds of millions of people." Exaggerations of the influence of far-right, white supremacist groups in Ukraine have been a central feature of the Russian narrative since its invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. 

The Verdict

Independent fact-checkers and media outlets, including Al Jazeera, have confirmed that the video is fake. Al Jazeera has suggested that it is possible that this claim may be linked to pro-Russian propaganda efforts. Therefore we have marked the claim as false. 

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