Qatar World Cup stadiums to be alcohol free
FIFA World Cup fans are being warned of strict alcohol restrictions during the football tournament in Qatar this year, with pint sales only permitted outside stadiums at certain times.
The 2022 Qatar World Cup is the first to be held in a country with strict alcohol laws. Although not a dry state like neighbouring Soudi Arabia, drinking alcohol in public places is prohibited in Qatar.
A document dated 2 June and seen by Reuters gave the first insight into how organisers plan to approach the issue of alcohol for the 1.2 million football fans.
“At stadiums, the plans are still being finalised, but the current discussion is to allow fans to have beer upon arrival and when leaving stadium, but beer won’t be served during the match or inside the stadium bowl,” the source told Reuters.
Alcohol was not permitted in stadiums last December during a test event for the World Cup, despite the FIFA website advertising free-flowing beers, Champagne, wines, and spirits in stadium VIP suites.
Public drunkenness is illegal in the country, and fans found breaking the rules could face prosecution and imprisonment.
Fans at November’s World Cup will be permitted to buy beer during restricted times in certain areas of the main FIFA fan zone in the Al Bidda park in the Qatari capital of Doha.
The document also revealed that alcohol is set to be made available for 15,000 to 20,000 fans on a disused corner of the Doha Golf Club, some kilometres away from the tournament stadiums and the main fan zone.
A sandy plot surrounded by a ten-foot wall has also reportedly been set aside promising techno music and alcohol with a 10,000 capacity, located between the delivery entrance of a hotel and a district cooling plant.
Further plans for the availability of alcohol during the tournament will be announced “in due course”, a spokesperson for the organisers, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said.
“Alcohol is already available in designated areas in Qatar, such as hotels and bars, and this will not change in 2022. With the aim of catering to visiting fans in 2022, alcohol will be available in additional designated areas during the tournament,” the spokesperson said.