Qatar to maintain alcohol ban during World Cup

Football fans flocking to watch the 2022 World Cup will not be allowed to consume alcohol publicly in Qatar, tournament organisers have confirmed.

“There will be no alcohol consumption on the streets, squares and public places and that is final,” Hassan Al-Thawadi, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee, the organisation responsible for World Cup preparations, told Qatari daily Al-Sharq.

Al-Thawadi said that alcohol would still be available to fans in certain places, though availability during the tournament would be “commensurate with our customs and traditions.”

Although drinking in public is banned in Qatar, the consumption of alcohol is legal in licensed clubs and bars.

“We are against the provision of alcohol in stadiums and their surroundings,” he added.

“Family-friendly safe areas” are also planned for stadiums so people of all ages can enjoy the games, he pledged.

According to Al-Thawadi, Qatar has not yet discussed the issue with FIFA, though the country has “a very clear position” on alcohol, as well as “laws and traditions that are not to be compromised”, the New Arab reported.

There has long been speculation about what the conservative Muslim country would do on the controversial issue of alcohol consumption during the world’s premier football event, which could bring organisers into conflict with FIFA and powerful sponsors.

Organisers have previously discussed having special fan zones in which alcohol would be available for purchase, but Qatari officials are keen on hosting a successful sporting event without the need to compromise on their religious and cultural values.

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