Alcohol at the 2022 Qatar World Cup is set to be subsidised thanks to a deal about to be struck by tournament organisers.
A pint of beer in Doha typically costs around £10, but this new deal would bring this price down, as well as make alcohol more readily available throughout the tournament.
In addition to the cheaper prices and greater number of locations selling alcohol, there is likely to be an extension of hotel happy hours – when the general price is reduced significantly, often by as much as 50%.
In return, the Qatari World Cup organisers have asked England fans to behave themselves and “bridge the cultural gap”.
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In an official statement, Nasser al-Khater, the chief executive officer of the 2022 World Cup, said: “Alcohol is not part of our culture. However, hospitality is. Alcohol is not as readily available here as in other parts of the world but for the World Cup we want to ensure it is accessible for fans who want to have a drink, so we are trying to find designated locations for fans to have alcohol, other than traditional places such as hotels and so forth.”
The consumption of alcohol is strictly restricted in Qatar. People are prohibited from drinking in public spaces, with private areas in some hotels being the only places it’s available to buy.
With over a million football fans set to descend on the small Gulf state for the World Cup, one proposed solution to accommodation is to moor cruise ships in the port and use them as hotels during the tournament. Alcohol could be sold on the cruise ships but there is trepidation around creating a “booze cruise” mentality.
The upcoming Club World Cup in December, which includes Champions League winners Liverpool, will be used as a test event for the World Cup in terms of security and policing. The participation of Jurgen Klopp’s side is notable, with organisers conscious of fan trouble from English supporters after last year’s Nations League match between England and Portugal.
Al-Khater added: “There is a lot of training that is going into security personnel to make sure things that are culturally different are seen in that frame – of what might be acceptable to an England fan might not be acceptable here – and to make sure we bridge that gap.
“Safety and security at any major event is your number one priority. The possibility with altercations between fans because of the size of the country, and a lot of the fans being in the same vicinity, is the key priority. But what we expect from the fans is similar to what we saw in Russia.”
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