Former England footballer John Barnes has defended the decision to ban crusader uniforms at England matches in Doha.
He also suggested that players should have opted not to compete at the World Cup to make a greater stand over protests such as Qatar's human rights record and LGBT stance.
Supporters dressed in chainmail while carrying plastic swords and shields with the St George cross have reportedly been told they will not be allowed to enter Al Bayt Stadium for England’s group stage clash against USA on Friday night.
The Times newspaper quoted world governing body Fifa as saying: “Crusader costumers in the Arab context can be offensive against Muslims.”
Barnes told Good Morning Britain: “You look at the situation like the crusader debate and the way that crusaders are viewed in that part of the world.
“It's very similar if someone was to come to a football match and wear a Nazi uniform.”
A video posted on social media showed two fans clad in crusader costumes seemingly being turned away by security staff when trying to enter a stadium in Qatar.
Qatari authorities have started banning England fans from wearing crusader costumes in stadiums.
The attire, complete with swords and crosses, are offensive due to crusader history of rape, slaughter and occupation of Arab lands.#Qatar #Eng #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/BoL6dnZEjz
— Robert Carter (@Bob_cart124) November 23, 2022
The edict comes after Fifa gave the green light for rainbow-coloured bucket hats and flags inside stadiums.
Asked for his opinion on the local customs surrounding the Qatar World Cup, Barnes said that fans should adhere to the rules.
“What the Qatar World Cup is doing is inviting everyone to come but just be respectful of our culture, religions and laws,” he said.
“They have relaxed a lot of the laws - look at the drinking laws. You can drink but the fact that you can't drink in a stadium for 90 minutes we're trying to beat them with a stick, as much as they have relaxed the drinking laws, can we not do that after 90 minutes?
“Is football changing perspectives here because players took a knee? No. You have to look at it from an institutional, societal, moral intellectual, colonial point of view. I believe that if you go to somebody's country - because we are saying the same thing for people who come here [to the UK] who may not believe in our laws - they have to respect our laws when they're here.”
Barnes believes that football would have made a greater impact if players or teams had stayed away from the World Cup over protests including laws which ban same-sex relationships.
He added: “If we don’t want to respect their laws [then} do not go. If footballers feel that they want to do something be it an armband or to be outspoken, make a stand and say 'I'm not going because I really believe in this' but they really don't.”
Anti-discrimination group Kick It Out has advised fans against wearing fancy-dress costumes representing knights or crusaders, which recall the religious wars Christians waged against Muslims during the Middle Ages.
A spokeswoman for the group said: “We would advise fans who are attending Fifa World Cup matches that certain attire, such as fancy-dress costumes representing knights or crusaders, may not be welcomed in Qatar and other Islamic countries.
“Foreign Office travel advice issued before the tournament expressed that fans should familiarise themselves with local customs, and we would encourage fans to take this approach.”
Watch: World Cup officials interrupt another live broadcast in Qatar