FIFA World Cup 2022: What Is Banned For Fans Visiting Qatar
From alcohol to one-night stands, the host nation has various restrictions that fans need to keep an eye on during their stay in the Gulf state.
FIFA in a shocking decision announced that the sale of beer will be prohibited at the upcoming World Cup. The decision was taken keeping in mind the rules of the host nation Qatar, where public consumption of alcohol is banned.
The move has irked the fans, as sale of beer was earlier allowed in select areas. But the alcoholic beverage is available in the country (including stadiums) but comes with certain rules and price.
This includes the corporate area in the stadiums. Individuals in corporate hospitality are exempted from the beer prohibition across the stadium, therefore would be able to drink.
The announcement was also a reminder for fans travelling to Qatar from different countries, that the host nation has several restrictions in place for those visiting.
Here is a list of restrictions in Qatar that those attending the FIFA World Cup 2022 need to adhere to:
The meat, like various other countries in the Middle East, is banned and therefore would not be available for fans in Qatar. The country has strict restrictions on the importation and consumption of pork meat and therefore, fans and travelling players would not be able to carry the same.
Argentina and Uruguay have reportedly brought 2,000 pounds of prime beef each for the entire team during their stay in Qatar, to enjoy a taste of home in their traditional Asada, which would also help in team bonding during their stay in the Gulf state.
One Night Stands
The country is expected to welcome over a million fans, adding pressure on both the hotel management and the fans. Hotel prices have reportedly skyrocketed with their increasing demand and to make matters worse, the country has banned one-night stands.
This rule is also applicable to travelling fans, as pre-martial sex is a punishable offence in Qatar, where convicted individuals can face a prison sentence of up to seven years.
Rules For LGBTQ+ People
The prohibited rules of pre-marital intercourse also apply to same-sex couples. Even during the initial years around 2010, when Qatar was awarded the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, many concerns were raised regarding its human rights violation and keeping homosexuality illegal while adhering to religious sentiments.
Homosexuality in Qatar is illegal with convicted individuals facing more than three years imprisonment. But Qatar came out with open approach, stating "Everyone is welcome," but many LGBTQ+ fans fear if this also includes them.
CNN reported that security forces arbitrarily arrest LGBTQ+ people and the convicts are subjects to "ill-treatment in detention."
Duty-Free Alcohol And Beer
Although alcohol is available, the Gulf nation maintains a strict control over its sale. Moreover, alcohol is available at upscale hotel bars to buy, but it comes with a very heavy price.
The heavy price comes due to Qatar's 'sin tax' where the state applies a 100% tax on alcohol to levy on "health-damaging" goods. Alcohol can be bought legally with a permit.
Along with this, import of alcohol including beer from airport duty-free is also prohibited.
The sale of non-alcoholic beverages like the Budweiser Zero will continue across all stadiums and fan villages. But the ban on beer came as a surprise for many, considering AB InBev, owner of beer giant Budweiser is a global sponsor of FIFA, including the World Cup. Budweiser sponsors around $100 million to FIFA for each World Cup cycle.
Porn, E-Cigarettes and Vapes
Other prohibitions for fans include pornography, which is also banned in the country and strictly prohibited to adhere to the Islamic laws of the country.
The UK Foreign Travel Advice government website mentioned that "importing drugs, alcohol, pornography, pork products and religious books and material into Qatar is illegal."
Qatar has also banned the sale and purchase of e-cigarettes with violators can end up paying upto QAR10,000 (around ₹2,23,925 in today's conversion rates) or face imprisonment upto three months.
The list of bans also reflect on the country's strict imposition of religious rules that will hamper the experiences of many travelling fans, therefore reflecting to the various concerns raised regarding freedom in the Gulf country.
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