Claim: Social media post claims that during the FIFA World Cup, football players’ suddenly paused the match after the azan sounded around the stadium.

Fact: The claim is false. The video is from 2018 in Saudi Arabia. The video actually shows a match between football clubs Al Feiha and Al-Fateh, during which Former English Premier Leader referee Mark Clattenburg stopped it to respect the Muslim call to prayer.

On 24 November 2022, a Twitter user shared a video with an Urdu caption that, when translated into English, reads, “The FIFA World Cup also stopped with the sound of Azan Subhan Allah.”

The 2-minute-long video shows football players in the middle of a game that comes to a halt when the call of prayer — or azan — is heard. The game is restarted after the azan stops playing.

Fact or Fiction?

An  InVID analysis of keyframes of the video shows that the same video was shared by different media platforms in January 2018. A Saudi sports channel, MBC Pro Sports, also published the same video on 24 January 2018. The Arabic caption, when translated into English, reads, “English referee Mark Clattenburg stops the match out of respect for the Maghrib prayer call.”

A further keyword search showed news reports by several media outlets, including BBC and Arab News, published in January 2018.

According to a BBC report, the video was shot at Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Sport City Stadium. Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg interrupted a match between the football clubs Al Feiha and Al-Fateh in order to respect the Islamic call to prayer. Clattenburg called timeout with the teams tied at 1-1 in the fifth minute of extra time.


Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 7-day period from 22 to 29 November using the following search terms:

  • “قطر میں فٹبال میچ کے دوران اذان گیم روک دیا گیا”

The search term received 10,826 interactions across 240 video posts on Facebook. The video posts with higher interactions can be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

On Twitter, the video with the false claim received 730 retweets, 2,650 likes and 31k views. It can be seen here, here, here, and here.

Conclusion:  The video of players pausing a football match due to azan is not from the FIFA World Cup 2022. The video is from 2018, when referee Mark Clattenburg stopped a match between two football clubs in Saudi Arabia to respect the Muslim call to prayer.


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