Qatar: Public alcohol ban during World Cup

It is official that during Qatar's 2022 World Cup event alcohol consumption will be forbidden “on the streets, squares and public places, and that is final”

Doha Stadium Plus Qatar/Flickr (Photo for illustrative purposes only).
Doha Stadium Plus Qatar/Flickr (Photo for illustrative purposes only).

Organisers have confirmed that football fans will not be able to buy or consume alcohol in Qatar’s streets and public spaces during the 2022 World Cup, event.

Al Sharq reported that the secretary-general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) stated that alcohol consumption will be forbidden “on the streets, squares and public places, and that is final”.

Hassan Al Thawadi stressed however, that alcohol would still be available to fans in certain places, but availability during the tournament would be “commensurate with our customs and traditions”.

Doha News reported that an SC spokesperson, responding to a request for comment, said that the committee’s position had “never really changed” on alcohol and that it would be “available, but not readily available like in other countries”.

Al Thawadi also told Al Sharq that he was “personally against the provision of alcohol in stadiums,” but refrained from ruling out its sale at the venues.

This echoes Brazil’s 2014 World Cup which sold alcohol in its stadiums during the event at FIFA’s insistence, despite the country previously banning its sale at football matches.

Attention is drawn to the fact that beer brewer Budweiser is a major FIFA sponsor.

Al Thawadi said that Qatar had not yet discussed the issue with FIFA, but added that Qatar has “a very clear position” on alcohol, pointing out “laws and traditions that are not to be compromised”.

Al Thawadi also told Doha News that the SC’s goal was to limit alcohol consumption to specific places, “far away from public spaces”, but however, stopped short of detailing where these places might be.

Previously discussions have taken place around having special fan zones in which alcohol will be available for purchase.

However, Al Thawadi appeared to suggest in this latest interview that he favoured setting up alcohol-free fan zones.

He alluded to a former dry zone created at Katara during the 2014 World Cup, yet was“full of fans watching the games in an enthusiastic atmosphere”.

Al Thawadi pledged that “Family-friendly safe areas” are also planned for stadiums so that people of all ages can enjoy the matches.

When asked whether hosting the World Cup would negatively affect Qatar’s culture, Al Thawadi said no and added that Qatar would put its own stamp on the games, giving them “an Arab and Islamic flavour”.

He continued:“On the contrary, I am certain that the Qatari people and the Arab audiences will influence others by showcasing the Arab and Islamic culture and norms.”

He added that he hoped the tournament would correct some stereotypes some people have about Arabs, Qataris and Muslims.

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