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Inside brutal alliance policing Qatar World Cup from French tear gas cops to Turkish special forces ready to batter fans

TEAMS of special forces from around the world will descend upon the Qatar World Cup in a bid to crack down on football hooligans.

Qatar has pulled in extra police from every corner of the globe to help at the sporting event with the tiny Gulf nation expecting an unprecedented influx of 1.2million visitors.

Some of the hardest police units including Turkey’s special operations unit, known as the Polis-Özel-Harekat, will be sent to Qatar
French cops struggled to control violent clashes between fans at the Euros in 2016
Troops from Pakistan’s army will also be deployed to bolster numbers for the World Cup

Officers from the US, Britain, Turkey, South Korea, France, Italy and Pakistan will make up a patchwork police force drafted in to keep order at the month-long football extravaganza.

The extra cops will provide security at the eight stadiums in Doha and hotels where the 32 national football squads are staying as part of “Operation World Cup Shield”.

Some of the hardest police units including Turkey’s special operations unit, known as the Polis-Özel-Harekat, and French riot cops behind the tear-gassing of Liverpool fans, will be beefing up security.

The team of terrifying Turkish cops are mostly used to fight terrorism in their home country but has previously been criticised for human rights violations – particularly against those in Kurdish areas.

Armed with rifles, handguns and with its own attack helicopter and numerous armoured vehicles the POH is armed to the teeth.

The squad also has its own fierce female unit – one of a handful of security forces in the world to do so.

Along with 3,000 riot police, Turkey has offered its own warship to bolster security at the World Cup for six months.

The TCG Burgazad, along with 250 troops, has already been deployed to Doha in the last month.

According to a report by Nordic Monitor, an NGO that detects terrorist activity, the special forces unit will not be held responsible for its action or any damages in the Gulf state.

During a debate over the security protocol, opposition lawmakers criticised the use of Turkish cops as ‘mercenaries’.

French officers specialised in anti-drone policing will also make up the bulk of their own 191-strong force.

Bomb-disposal experts, sniffer dogs, an anti-terror unit and cops specialised in tackling football hooliganism will all be deployed.

The French riot cops came under scrutiny just months ago after shocking footage showed Champions League Final.

Kids as young as nine, pregnant women and disabled people were among those pepper-sprayed at the match against Real Madrid.

Crowds grew restless after paying fans were delayed from entering the stadium in time for the game.

Liverpool legends Jamie Carragher and Robbie Fowler blasted the French government at the time as “liars” who refused to accept any responsibility for the chaos.

Boris Johnson, who was PM at the time, said the violent scenes were “deeply upsetting and disturbing”.

Popular French football magazine So Foot even mocked riot cops and asked: “Did anyone think to show the Qataris footage of the Champions League final?”

The deployment of French forces to the World Cup in Qatar falls under a security partnership signed last year and passed through French parliament in August after a fierce debate.

Opposition lawmakers flagged the ethical implications of sending French officers to protect the country’s “air-conditioned cemeteries” – referring to the tournament’s brand-new facilities.  

And they also raised concerns about the treatment of female cops in Qatar – a country known for its strict Islamic code and hard-line attitude towards women.

France’s interior ministry confirmed to France 24 that their force in Qatar would include female officers.

The ministry said the decision to deploy French security personnel followed a “request by Qatari authorities” and would help ensure the security of fans – including French nationals.

During the Euros in 2016, French riot cops struggled to handle violent clashes between Russian Ultras and England fans in Marseille.

Horror footage showed Russian fans brutally attacking English crowds with chairs and metal bars before French police sprayed rioters with tear-gas and water cannons.

Brits Andrew Bache, 51, and Stewart Gray, 47, were both left in a coma after being attacked by Russian thugs.


Turkey is set to send 100 special operations police, 50 bomb specialists and 80 sniffer dogs and riot dogs to keep monitor any terrorist activity.

It will also be taking charge of the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence operations at the tournament.

The country’s cops are being taught English and given guidance about what to expect when they arrive in Qatar, a Turkish source told Reuters.

They said: “During the tournament, Turkish police will only take orders from their Turkish superiors who are serving temporarily in Qatar.”

“The Qatari side will not be able to give direct orders to the Turkish police.

“All expenses of the personnel deployed… will be covered by the state of Qatar.”

Fans clashing with French cops in Marseille in riots that saw two Brits seriously injured
The police unit is trained to carry out counter-terrorism operations in Turkey and is armed to the teeth
French police watching over Liverpool fans during the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in May

Nearly 800 Qataris have also been trained by Turkey on issues ranging from “sports safety” to “intervention in social events”.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s cabinet approved a draft agreement last month to allow the government to offer troops for the tournament – although numbers have not been confirmed.

Morocco has also backed sending officers to Qatar, with local media reporting that several thousand could be deployed.

And South Korea has sent military police officers with experience in counter-terror and maintaining public order to help train Qatari cops.

According to Yonhap, the contingent is made up of “veteran soldiers with experience in overseas military units, anti-terror special task force, arrests of violent military criminals, presidential office guards, and various national events guards”.

Spain had been considering sending 115 officers – but ultimately refused.


As the first Middle East country to host a World Cup – and the smallest nation to do so – Qatar has no previous experience of hosting events on such a scale.

Members of Qatar’s police forces already met with cops in New York in January to exchange tips for security during major events.

And in July, the US signed agreements with Qatar to “identify air passengers linked to terrorism, trafficking, detecting watchlisted travellers, and monitoring potential security risks at Hamad International Airport”.

The UK, whose forces regularly carry out drills with their Qatari counterparts, has also said it will be sending units from the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force to support counterterrorism efforts. 

A unit of Brit cops set to be deployed will act as a buffer between fans and potentially over-zealous local forces to “de-escalate” issues at the tournament.

Fifteen special UK police “engagement officers” have been roped in to “calm things down if needed”.

Cheshire Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the UK’s top football cop, said: “Our officers will be there to try to engage and calm things down if needed.

“We’re not morality police and we are not going to tell people not to protest.

“That’s a local enforcement issue. We just want to look after the supporters.

“The last thing we want is someone inadvertently causing offence, so if we see there’s something that may cause a problem we can go and try to de-escalate the situation.”

Mr Roberts said the “potential for a misunderstanding is probably greater” in Qatar.

“We know that England fans have often gone to a square and drunk but that’s not really an option because you don’t have the off-sales in Qatar in the same way.

“If you have 2,000 fans in one place, even in the UK, you’d get the police come in and sometimes when England have played abroad our fans have played up to it a bit.

“We just want to avoid that.”

Hundreds of Qatari nationals have also been called up to man security checkpoints at the stadiums.

The conscripts will manage security queues, and check fans for drugs or weapons concealed in ponytails, jacket linings or even false bellies, according to training materials seen by Reuters.

In early September the civilians were ordered to report for pre-dawn duty at the national service camp north of the Qatari capital Doha.

A source said civilians were told it was their “patriotic duty” to help out with the World Cup.

“Most people are there because they have to be – they don’t want to get in trouble,” the source said.

The current group of civilians are on four months paid leave from their jobs at key Qatari institutions such as state-owned QatarEnergy and the foreign ministry, the source said.

Conscripts report to the national service camp five days a week, where they attend training sessions – and are taught to approach fans with “positive body language, focus and a smile”.

Training also includes hour-long marching drills on the parade ground.

A Qatari government official said: “Recruits will provide additional support during the tournament as part of the regular program, just as they do every year at major public events, such as the National Day celebration.”

French riots cops have also been out in forced during the yellow vest protests
Police spray tear gas at Liverpool fans outside the Stade de France
Turkey’s TCG Burgazad was deployed to Doha last month to join the massive security operation

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