Madrid, Nov 17 (EFE).- Will alcohol be permitted during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar? Are gay couples going to be allowed to attend matches? Should women use head scarves? These are some of the questions being asked by traveling fans, who are set to enjoy some legal exemptions during the tournament.
Qatari officials have installed special points of sale for alcoholic beverages and have allocated spaces for fans to sober up in the case of overindulgence.
In general, Qatar permits the sale and consumption of alcohol to people over 21 years old at hotels, restaurants, and bars that hold a permit, but not in the streets or other public places.
During the World Cup, the special points of sale of alcohol are to be located outside the stadiums. They will open three hours before a match and close an hour after it ends.
However, being drunk in public is a crime punishable by Qatari law, as is drinking alcohol outside the permitted areas for it, which carries a prison sentence and/or a fine of up to QAR 3,000 (roughly $823).
Smoking is also prohibited in all public places, including museums, sports clubs, shopping malls, and restaurants.
Qatar’s stance on LGBT+ rights, and human rights in general has added fuel to one of the most vocal debates since Fifa awarded football’s greatest competition to the wealthy Gulf state.
Qatar punishes sexual relations between same-sex people with imprisonment of one to three years, its penal code stating that: “leading, instigating or seducing a male in any way to commit sodomy or dissipation,” is a crime.
Representatives of the organizing committee have reiterated that LGBT+ fans will be welcomed at the World Cup and will be allowed to display the rainbow flag, but no regulation or text has been enacted to reflect it.
One week ago, in an interview with German state-owned television broadcaster ZDF, Qatar 2022 ambassador Khalid Salman referred to homosexuality as “damage in the mind.”
NO HEAVY PETTING
The Qatari penal code also criminalizes extramarital affairs, a rule that precedes the World Cup.
On this matter, representatives at the Qatari Embassy in Spain told Efe that the country asks visitors to respect “its values and traditions”, as they would “in other parts of the world”.
Public displays of affection are also not well-received or common in Qatar.
NON-QATARI WOMEN ARE NOT OBLIGED TO COVER THEIR HEADS
In its official Qatar 2022 Fan Guide, Fifa does not mention women are to be required to wear the traditional Islamic head covering.
The only reference to the dress code in the 76-page long document is: “Think about what you’re going to wear on matchday! Pack your costumes, team shirts, and flags, but make sure you know the rules before heading to the stadiums.”
According to Qatar’s official tourism website, it is “generally recommended for men and women to ensure their shoulders and knees are covered.”