Violent clashes broke out at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the UAE between supporters of Afghanistan and Pakistan on Wednesday, September 7, after Pakistan won the Asia Cup 2022 match between the two countries. Soon after the nail-biting finish to the game in which Pakistan won by one wicket, the spectators reportedly turned unruly, vandalizing stadium property and Afghan fans allegedly assaulting Pakistan supporters.

In the backdrop of this, a video of a man in Pakistan team jersey dancing in the stands apparently mocking Afghan fans was shared widely on social media with the claim that that is what incited the violent clashes among fans. Cricketer Shoaib Akhtar tweeted:

Sharing the video of the dancing Pakistani man on Twitter at 9.18 pm on September 7, 2022 [archive link], executive editor of TV9 network Aditya Raj Kaul wrote on Twitter: A glimpse of Pakistani fans abusing, taunting & mocking Afghan fans inside the stadium which led to an argument and Afghan fans were provoked. Clash erupted. Hope action is taken against Pakistanis who end up indulging in violence everywhere across globe!

Many other handles, like @aks_amul @Rahul30672087 @samratsamarth25 [archive link], tweeted the same video and linked it to the confrontations in the stands.

Fact check

A keyword search on Youtube showed that the video was published on October 30, 2021, nearly 10 months prior to the Asia Cup match. The description of the video on YouTube reads: “Pakistani Fan Mocking Afghanistan People In The Stadium Funny Dance ICC World T20 Cup 2021” The match was held at the Dubai International Stadium.
In one of the viral tweets, we noticed a reply by a user @SameerBamne4. He mentioned that the stadium visible in the video was ‘Dubai stadium’.
In the viral video, we also noticed a strip of light running across the roof of the stadium. Taking note of these clues, we performed a keyword search on Google and came across a news report by Gulf News. The report published in November of 2021 talked about ‘How the UAE became a world cricket hub’. In this report, we noticed a photo which had the same strip of light running along the roof of the Dubai International Stadium. It has been described as ‘Ring of Fire’ lighting system.
The ‘Ring of Fire’ floodlights of the Dubai International Stadium is visible in the viral video as well, confirming that the video was not taken at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium last week. Below, we have juxtaposed a still from the viral clip and a photo of the Dubai International Stadium, showing that the video is shot at the latter.
Below we have also added the Google Earth view of the Sharjah Cricket Stadium and The Dubai International Stadium pointing out the differences between the two. We know that the last week’s altercation between the fans took place in Sharjah as the name of the stadium has also been mentioned in various news reports.
Hence it can be said that the video of a dancing Pakistani man did not incite the violence at Sharjah on Wednesday, September 7, 2022. Tying the video to the clashes at the stadium in a single frame is misleading.