Gareth Southgate’s squad have been one of the firm favourites to lift the trophy this December after finishing second at the Euros 2022 competition and reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup. However, the Lions recent form has thrown this prospect into serious doubt. Not only did England recently lose to Hungary but they subsequently lost to Italy earlier this autumn thus ending their Nation League hopes.
The time is also nearing for the England boss to name his final choices for the competition with constant injury worries plaguing a variety of players. Chelsea’s Reece James seemed an absolute certainty to make the final cut but after picking up a knee injury during the Blues fixture against Milan his chances appear to be slipping away.
As England hope to rebuild their consistency and game ahead of the upcoming tournament, fans will begin to travel to the Middle-East and will quickly be reminded of the cultural differences that face them as they land in the Islamic country of Qatar where the drinking philosophy is somewhat different to the UK.
With a few weeks to go until the World Cup begins, here is all you need to know about the drinking laws in Qatar…
Is it illegal to drink in Qatar?
Drinking alcohol in Qatar is not illegal however there is a zero tolerance for drinking in public and it is a crime to be drunk in public as well. The legal drinking age in the country is also higher than in the UK with only those 21 and above able to buy alcohol from licensed hotel restaurants and bars. There is a single state-controlled off-licence, however fans must be aware that this is for residents only.
Visiting fans will also not be allowed to smuggle drink into the country or outside the designated zones otherwise they risk being deported or heavily fined.
Where can I drink at Qatar World Cup?
Qatar has relaxed some of their drinking restrictions for the World Cup with organisers announcing beer will be available throughout the day and night at a fan festival. The Times has reported the Arcadia Festival will serve beer for 19 hours a day between 10am and 5am. The Arcadia Festival is located just a few miles away from England’s base at Al Wakrah and is two miles outside of the Qatari capital, Doha.
Beer is also said to be available at the official FIFA Fan Festival and ESPN have reported ‘sober zones’ will be located around the festivals for supporters who drink excessively. Speaking to ESPN, the Qatar World Cup chief executive Nasser Al Khater said: “There are plans in place for people to sober up if they’ve been drinking excessively. It’s a place to make sure that they keep themselves safe, they’re not harmful to anybody else.”
Stadiums will also offer alcohol for ticket holders within a certain perimeter of the ground before and after games but only non-alcoholic beverages will be available inside the stadium ‘bowl’.
It is expected that a pint of beer in Doha will cost around £12-£15 due to the Muslim country invoking a tax on alcohol. However, the Times has reported that the FIFA Fan Festival is expected to charge fans £5 for 500ml of Budweiser, the tournament’s official beer sponsor.
When does the FIFA World Cup start?
The first match takes place between Qatar and Ecuador on Sunday 20 November 2022 while England will play their first match against Iran on Monday 21 November at the Khalifa International Stadium with a kick-off time of 1pm GMT.