Cancel the flights lads.
Qatari officials have today confirmed that alcohol will be banned from all public places during the 2022 World Cup.
In an interview with Arabic newspaper Al-Sharq, secretary-general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy Hassan Al-Thawadi said:
‘There will be no alcohol consumption on the streets, squares and public places and that is final.’ ‘We are against the provision of alcohol in stadiums and their surroundings.‘
While the consumption of alcohol is not actually illegal in Qatar, it is forbidden to drink in public places.
This includes on stadium grounds, where officials are also attempting to have alcohol of any form banned.
Al-Thawadi has made it abundantly clear that the country will not change their laws to cater to incoming fans, with a backlash from supporters and sponsors alike now expected.
‘I did not get into a discussion with FIFA on this matter and there has been great pressure from FIFA on Russia to change its laws.’
‘But our position is clear – we will legalise according to Qatari law and commensurate with the customs and traditions.’
In addition, it is also illegal to bring alcohol into the country.
With questions already surrounding the original decision to award the World Cup to Qatar, intensified by the fact that the tournament will be held during Winter due to searing summer temperatures, the ban on alcohol comes as another blow to fans.
While it is an understandable stance on the part of the country based on religious beliefs and the Euro 2016 troubles being clearly escalated by alcohol, the fact remains that the choice of Qatar as hosts was ill-thought and inappropriate.
With up to one million fans from around the globe expected at the Qatar showpiece in 2022, it seems a touch unrealistic to expect those attending to completely alter their usual habits, with clashes between fans and local authorities very much on the cards.