The World Cup is almost upon us and while there has been plenty of questions asked about the tournament, the restrictions and sale of alcohol to fans has certainly been among them.
Alcohol is strictly prohibited in Qatar aside from particular hotels, in line with the nation’s religious beliefs and as people from around the world descend on the country, many will be looking for a pint.
Warnings have been put in place by governments, in particular in the UK, where England fans notoriously like to enjoy a beer in the fan parks, while have also been involved in a number of anti-social incidents in recent years, none more so than the Euro 2020 Final during the pandemic.
The nation has long battled with such a reputation, and there’s a growing number of problem drinkers and those suffering from addiction, with a total of six in 10 people drinking regularly, while addiction rehab centres like the UKAT group (http://www.ukat.co.uk/) are treating more and more people.
It’s a relationship with alcohol that many fans will have to change during the World Cup, with the British government coming out and staring that even “residual amounts” of illegal substances can lead to “lengthy custodial sentences”.
Drugs are also likely to be a problem, and while there will of course be fans all over the world that partake in such activities, the Brits have also been warned, with the police in the UK citing that trouble causers at Wembley back in 2021 were largely under the influence of alcohol or cocaine.
Studies have found a huge problem with football culture in the nation and drugs, with UK newspaper, The Sun, running tests on football stadiums in the country and finding that there were traces of cocaine in almost every test they undertook.
In response, Chief Constable Mark Roberts, an expert in policing football matches said; “Where people are high on emotions which you do get in football, and then you add in cocaine use, that’s a pretty toxic mix as how people behave and it often leads to extreme violence.”
That simply won’t be tolerated in Qatar and fans could find themselves in real trouble if they do. In fact, smuggling drugs into the country can even lead to the death penalty. And that won’t change during the tournament.
Qatari officials have stated that there will be alcohol available at the World Cup. This won’t be in the stadiums, but at fan parks and the Arcadia Festival which is also being celebrated. Even then though, anyone seen to be drunk in public there are processes in place to ensure fans “sober up” before leaving again.
How that will look, it’s not entirely sure, but it’s another warning to respect the laws of the country and drink responsibly when fans have the opportunity to do so.