World Cup 2022: what not to do fans in Qatar


After many years of waiting – and arguing – since Qatar was awarded the World Cup, the tournament finally started on Sunday in Doha.

Even before hitting the ball, pain points arose. Despite years of planning, just two days before the start of the tournament, Qatar announced a ban on alcohol. beer the eight stadiums hosting the World Cup have taken an unexpected turn.

Now, fans traveling around the country may be wondering how they feel about the rest of the local laws and customs of the host country.

The sale and consumption of alcohol has been a highly contentious issue ever since Qatar was first announced as the host of the World Cup 12 years ago.

The Muslim country is considered very conservative and tightly regulates the sale and consumption of alcohol.

In Qatar, it is illegal to be drunk in public, and those who violate this may face legal consequences. According to the UK government’s travel advice to Qatar, drinking in a public place can “carry a prison sentence of up to six months and/or a fine of up to 3,000 Qatari riyals ($824)”.

In September, Qatar said it would allow ticketed fans to buy alcoholic beer at World Cup football matches that kick off three hours before kickoff and up to one hour after the final whistle, but not during the match.

Then, two days before the first match, football’s world governing body, FIFA, confirmed that no alcohol would be sold in the eight stadiums that will host the tournament’s 64 matches.

Alcohol will only be sold at designated fan parks and other licensed locations in Doha, FIFA said in a statement.

“There will be […] more than 200 places where you can buy alcohol in Qatar, and more than 10 fan zones where more than 100,000 people can drink alcohol at the same time, ”said the FIFA President. Gianni Infantino on Saturday.

“I personally believe that if you can’t drink beer for three hours a day, you will survive.

“Especially because in fact the same rules apply in France, Spain, Portugal or Scotland, where beer is now banned in stadiums,” he added.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino at a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha on 19 November 2022 ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

However, some fans will be able to drink alcohol at matches – for a price. Fans can purchase the Match Hospitality package, priced between $950 and $4,950 per match, with a variety of services including alcohol.

A spokeswoman for Match Hospitality told CNN Sport that their packages would not be affected by the change in FIFA policy.

However, alcohol is available in licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol through a permit system, according to UK government advice.

Sex outside of marriage is illegal in Qatar, and public intimacy between a man and a woman can lead to arrest.

Sex between men is also illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison in the country, and a Human Rights Watch report released last month documented instances in September where Qatari security forces arbitrarily arrested LGBT people and subjected them to “abuse in detention” .

A Qatari government spokesman recently told CNN in a statement that the country hosting the World Cup is an inclusive country.

“Everyone is welcome in Qatar,” the statement said, adding: “Our track record shows that we warmly welcome all people, regardless of background.”

According to FIFA, in order to prevent discrimination of any kind, measures have been taken such as training sessions on human rights with the participation of public and private security forces, as well as the adoption of legal provisions to protect everyone.

A statement sent to CNN on behalf of the High Committee on Delivery and Legacy (SC), which has been in charge of overseeing infrastructure projects and World Cup planning since its formation in 2011, says it is committed to “inclusive and non-discrimination”, pointing to the fact that the country, he said, has hosted hundreds of international and regional sporting events since the World Cup was awarded in 2010.

However, there have been mixed reports from Qatar ahead of the tournament, with World Cup ambassador and former football player Khalid Salman saying earlier this month that homosexuality is “mind damage” in an interview with German broadcaster ZDF.

Winter in Qatar is a relative term, when temperatures can still be around 30 degrees Celsius (around 86 degrees Fahrenheit).

Despite the heat, all visitors to Qatar should show “respect for the local culture by avoiding overly revealing clothes in public,” according to the country’s tourism authority, adding that men and women are advised to cover their knees and shoulders.

A football fan poses for a photo on the Corniche ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on November 19, 2022 in Doha.

According to UK Government advice, men and women are “recommended not to wear shorts or sleeveless tops when visiting government buildings, medical facilities or shopping centres”, and failure to do so could result in you being asked to leave or denied entry.

However, the US Embassy in Qatar notes that dress standards may vary depending on area or facility You are inside. CNN teams in Doha spotted a lot of tourists wearing shorts.

According to the US State Department, illegal drug use in Qatar can lead to heavy fines and lengthy prison terms, including possession of marijuana/THC, CBD products and vapes.

But there are also restrictions on some prescription drugs, such as stimulants, anxiety medications, and strong painkillers, and visitors are advised to check the banned substance list before traveling.

According to Freedom House, an independent watchdog funded by the US government, there is a sliding scale of freedom around the world.

Qatar, for example, scored a measly 25 on Freedom House’s scale of 0 to 100, which combines access to political rights and civil liberties. But it is not the most productive country participating in the World Cup; Saudi Arabia scored 7 points and Iran 14.

And yet the United States is not the freest. Canada gets 98 points, Uruguay and Denmark 97 points, and the US 83 points.

There are no legal guarantees of freedom of the press or freedom of speech in Qatar, the US embassy in Qatar notes.

Anyone convicted of “libeling, desecrating, or committing blasphemy” against Islam, Christianity, or Judaism can be sentenced to up to seven years in prison, according to the US State Department, and public worship by non-Islamic and atheists is illegal.

Meanwhile, attempts to convert a person to another religion or even “split their faith” can lead to imprisonment or deportation.

Tensions often escalate at international football matches and it is not uncommon for fights to break out between supporters from rival countries both inside and outside the stadiums, but swearing and rude gestures are considered obscene in Qatar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *