A video of a football stadium showing the players abruptly stopping during a match, with Azaan being heard in the background is going viral on social media platforms. Those who shared the video claim that a FIFA World Cup match in Qatar was halted temporarily as a mark of respect to Azaan. Newschecker found the claim to be untrue. The video is old and unrelated to the ongoing soccer tournament in Qatar.
Several Facebook users shared varied versions of the video claiming to show visuals from a football stadium in Qatar.
The video has also found its way to YouTube.
On carefully analysing the video, we did spot the players halting the game as Azaan is heard in the background. Taking a clue, we conducted a keyword search for “football match, “stop” & “Azaan” on YouTube which yielded a video uploaded on the channel ‘News Is Everything’ on August 29, 2018 with the title ‘English referee stops playing for Adhan.’
A comparison between the keyframes of the viral clip and the YouTube video led us to conclude that both show the same event, indicating that the widely shared footage has been available online at least for the past four years .
Notably, in the 2018 video we noticed “King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Sport City” written on a hoarding at one end of the stadium. Above the hoarding, we spotted the black and white portraits of Saudi Arabia’s king Salman bin Abdulaziz and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Following this, we conducted a keyword search for “Football match, “Saudi, “stopped,” & “Azaan” on Google and found a report by Sport Bible, dated January 25, 2018, titled ‘Mark Clattenburg Stops Game In Saudi Arabia When The Call For Prayer Echoes From Nearby Mosques.’
The report featured several tweets carrying a longer version of the viral video and stated, “In a remarkable scene, Clattenburg paused play for two minutes because the call for prayer echoed from nearby mosques.The moment happened during the Saudi King’s Cup round of 16, and with the two teams going into extra time at 1-1, ‘the Mouazin’ starts and play completely stops.”
A 2018 report by BBC on the same incident said, “Clattenburg was officiating a match in Saudi Arabia between Al Feiha and Al-Fateh on Wednesday when the Adhan sounded around the King Salman Sport City Stadium from nearby mosques.The game was into the fifth minute of extra time when he halted the action with the teams level at 1-1.When the match resumed, Al Feiha scored their second goal in the 118th minute to reach the quarter-finals.”
Furthermore, we converted the English keywords (mentioned above) into Arabic with the help of Google translate and looked up the same on the search engine. The search threw up several reports from January 2018, elaborating on the incident.
One such report by Arabic CNN, dated January 25, 2018, stated, “English referee Mark Clattenburg stopped the King’s Cup round of 16 match between Al-Fayhaa and Al-Fateh, after hearing the sound of the call to prayer in a mosque adjacent to the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Sports City stadium in the Al-Majma’a area of the Saudi capital, Riyadh.”
Additionally, we come across a longer version of the viral footage that was uploaded on YouTube on the verified channel @SadaAlMalaeb (صدى الملاعب) on January 25, 2018. The title of the video read, “English referee Mark Clattenburg stops the Al-Fayhaa and Al-Fateh match, out of respect for the Maghrib prayer call. “(translated from Arabic.)
A Saudi Arabia based news outlet had also tweeted the video from its official account (@HashKSA) on January 24, 2018.
We could thus conclude that the viral video showing a football match being halted for Azaan is neither from the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar, nor does it show any recent incident. The video showcases a four-year-old incident from Saudi Arabia.
Viral posts claiming that a FIFA World Cup match was temporarily stopped in Qatar during Azaan are false.
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