Fans planning to head to Qatar to watch the World Cup live this year should prepare to face strict rules and advice relating to alcohol, relationships and dress code.
Sports fans across the globe come together to watch their teams battle it out at the World Cup, and supporters will no doubt be chomping at the bit to get started this year.
Organisers have estimated that as many as 1.5 million football fans will attend the tournament over the 28 days in which it takes place, with the draw taking place today (1 April) before the event kicks off on 21 November.
Anyone planning to attend a match at the World Cup must apply for a Hayya Card; a form of Fan ID that will allow the holder to enter the country, attend matches and get access to free public transport on match days. Upon arrival in the country, the UK government advises it is illegal to import drugs, alcohol, pornography, pork products and religious books and material into Qatar.
For many, the World Cup and football in general often go hand-in-hand with the act of drinking, but the UK government also warns it is an offence to drink alcohol or be drunk in public in Qatar.
The consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Islam and visitors are being asked to respect the country's customs, though tourists will be able to get alcohol at bars in hotels and private clubs, as well as in designated Fifa fan zones and certain areas in stadiums.
The legal drinking age in Qatar is 21, and anyone found to be breaking the rules could face a prison sentence of up to six months and/or a fine up to QAR3,000 (£627/$824).
Al Rihla, the #OfficialMatchBall of the 2022 #FIFAWorldCup, means ‘the journey’— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) March 31, 2022
This is the journey to Qatar, starting now#Qatar2022 | @adidasFootball pic.twitter.com/w8Jwg6lFCS
England's players are set to stay at the five-star Souq Al Wakra beach resort during the World Cup, though reports suggest their partners and family members will stay on board a cruise ship throughout the event to help avoid the drinking laws.
There is also zero tolerance for drugs-related offences, with penalties including custodial sentences, fines and deportation.
When it comes to dress code, tourists visiting the country have been encouraged to wear what they feel comfortable in provided it is modest. The UK government advises women to avoid wearing short skirts, while both men and women are advised not to wear shorts or sleeveless tops when going to government buildings, health care facilities or malls.
Anyone planning to enjoy the football with their partner should note intimacy in public between men and women can lead to arrest, and although homosexuality is illegal in the country, Fatma Al-Nuaimi, communications executive director of Qatar's supreme committee for organising the tournament, told BBC Sport 'everyone will be welcome'.
"It's a tournament for everyone, a tournament of firsts, and a tournament where everyone will be welcome. The Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 will bring with it the biggest influx of sports fans the region has ever seen – introducing them to Arab culture and traditions. It's an unprecedented opportunity to project a true image of the Arab world as a welcoming, peaceful, and hospitable region," he said.
Authorities have also confirmed there will be no restrictions on non-married friends or couples staying in the same hotel room.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Football, Sport, World Cup, World News