Qatar local laws: where can you drink and smoke during World Cup 2022 - and what can fans wear in Qatar

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Supporters of England, Wales and other travelling nations will need to know these rules and regulations when visiting the Gulf state.

The FIFA World Cup is the biggest event in world football as nations from across the globe come together to compete for the biggest prize in sport.

As always, loyal supporters will follow their teams to the finals but things are set to be slightly different in 2022 as the tournament takes place in Qatar. As well as being played in the winter, there will be multiple local laws and customs that visitors to the Gulf state should be aware of that they may not have experienced at previous major tournaments. Here is the important information for visitors to Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup specifically concerning alcohol, smoking and clothing:

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AFP via Getty Images

Is Alcohol legal in Qatar? When and where can supporters drink during World Cup

The consumption of alcohol is legal in Qatar but is highly regulated. Alcohol will be served “in select areas within stadiums” at this year’s world cup and, away from games, is available only at licensed hotel restaurants and bars. Per, it is an offence to drink alcohol or be drunk in public. British nationals have been detained under this law, usually when they have come to the attention of the police on a related matter, such as disorderly or offensive behaviour.

A BBC article from last month confirmed that ticket holders will have access to drink options within the stadium perimeter prior to kick-off and after the final whistle. CEO Nasser Al Khater said: “While alcohol will be available to those who want a drink in designated areas, it will not be openly available on the streets. What we ask is that people, when they visit, stick to these designated areas.”

Is smoking in public places allowed in Qatar?

Smoking is legal in Qatar but, similar to the UK, is illegal in public spaces such as inside football stadiums and facilities. It is also prohibited to smoke in public spaces such as museums, shopping malls and restaurants and punishable by a considerable fine. Information gathered by the Independent says: “The importation, purchase and use of e-cigarettes has been outlawed in Qatar since 2014, with offenders punishable by up to three months imprisonment and a fine of QAR 10,000 (around £2,400).”

What can fans wear? Dress code in Qatar

Per, visitors should dress modestly when in public, including while driving. Women must cover their shoulders and avoid wearing short skirts. Both men and women are advised not to wear shorts or sleeveless tops, when going to government buildings, healthcare facilities or malls. If you do not dress modestly, you may be asked to leave or be denied entry to these locations. The rules are expected to be somewhat relaxed during the World Cup but are expected to remain generally the same.

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Other important rules and laws

Here are some other select rules and laws (per that visitors to Qatar during the FIFA World Cup should be aware of:

  • Swearing and making rude gestures are considered obscene acts and offenders can be jailed and/or deported
  • There is zero tolerance for drugs-related offences in Qatar and the penalties for the use of, trafficking, smuggling and possession of drugs (even residual amounts) are severe
  • Homosexual behaviour is illegal in Qatar
  • Any intimacy in public between men and women (including between teenagers) can lead to arrest
  • Due to the laws on sex outside marriage, if you become pregnant outside marriage, both you and your partner could face imprisonment and/or deportation
  • An unmarried woman who gives birth in Qatar may also encounter problems when registering the birth of the child in Qatar, and could be arrested, imprisoned or deported

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