Qatar warns World Cup fans on alcohol infiltration in the country

Fans traveling to the 2022 World Cup will not be able to take alcohol for personal consumption in Qatar, the head of the country’s safety and security committee said, adding that they have “to take action against anyone who attempts to smuggle the drink”. specific measures”. Belongings.

Although alcohol is strictly prohibited in Qatar – drinking in public can result in a fine of up to 3,000 riyals (£720) or a prison sentence of up to six months – it can be bought inside hotels, and the Supreme Committee in charge of the tournament World Cup sponsors have agreed to make beer—provided by Budweiser—available in stadiums and fan areas during the World Cup, which starts on 20 November.

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Due to high alcohol consumption during the early stages of Russia 2018, some bars in Moscow ran out of beer as fans from around the world flocked to the Russian capital.

But despite football fan culture in many regions of the world, which includes the consumption of alcohol before, during and after games, Qatari officials have said the availability of alcohol will be limited to designated areas and fans will be asked to bring their own alcohol. will not be allowed.

“There are specific measures in place,” Colonel Jasim Abdulrahim Al Said, of the Security and Security Steering Committee, told ESPN at a news conference in Doha. “I think alcohol will not be allowed through the airport and suitcases.

“There are places where alcohol will be sold all over the country.”

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The main fanfest at the tournament will serve alcohol only after 6.30 pm, despite some games starting later in the day.

But Qatar 2022 chief executive Nasser Al Khattar has urged fans to avoid consuming alcohol in specific areas that have been allowed to serve the drink.

“There is a misconception about the sale of liquor in stadiums and designated areas,” said Al Khattar. “We are working as usual like any other World Cup.

“Very simply, we have always said that alcohol is available for sale in Qatar and will be made available in specific regions.

“The Fanfest will go on from 6.30 pm, but it will attract a lot of families and children and we want to give them the opportunity to be in an alcohol-free zone for certain parts of the day. Afterwards, alcohol will be readily available to fans.”