Keep Qatar Tidy: Japan's rubbish collecting football fans become World Cup stars

Japanese fans are collecting rubbish after games at FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Japanese fans are collecting rubbish after games at FIFA World Cup in Qatar.   -  Copyright  Eugene Hoshiko/Copyright 2018 The AP.
By Kerem Congar  & AP

The football World Cup in Qatar has been full of surprises on the pitch but there has also been exceptional behaviour off the field among fans. 

Much to the locals' delight, some supporters have chosen to wear traditional Qatari clothing in and around stadiums. But, perhaps the most welcome gesture is that of Japan fans. 

Win, lose or draw, the Japanese spend time after each match picking up rubbish in the stands. 

Their cleaning habit is driving social media posts during the tournament, but it's nothing unusual for Japanese fans or players, who are known to tidy up the team dressing room and leave thank-you notes.

Natacha Pisarenko/Copyright 2018 The AP. All rights reserved.
Japanese fans are cleaning the rubbish after the game ends in FIFA World Cup in Qatar.Natacha Pisarenko/Copyright 2018 The AP. All rights reserved.

Japan's Football Association supplied 8,000 blue rubbish bags to fans, which fittingly colour the stadiums for the 'Samurai Blue', and each bag is covered with "thank you" messages written in Arabic, Japanese, and English.

Darko Vojinovic/Copyright 2018 The AP. All rights reserved
Japanese fans are cleaning the rubbish after the game ends in FIFA World Cup in Qatar.Darko Vojinovic/Copyright 2018 The AP. All rights reserved

In July 2018, Japanese fans and football players already won plaudits after they were seen collecting trash during FIFA World Cup matches in Russia.

While Japan may exit the tournament today with defeat against Croatia, the fans and players will hopefully leave a lasting impact on all followers of the beautiful game.

Video editor • Kerem Congar