World Cup in Qatar: Mind your manners; No short skirts, public booze or PDA
Doha, Nov 17: The countdown for the 2022 FIFA World Cup has begun. Qatar, the host country, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that this mega event becomes a success. The tournament is scheduled to take place from 20 November to 18 December with 32 teams participating in the competition to lift the cup and prize money of $440 million.
As fans across the globe pack their bags and head to Qatar to watch the football World Cup, they should be aware of dos and don'ts before taking their trip.
Qatar is a Muslim country and the laws are quite strict compared to democratic countries or European nations. From the dress code to boozing, there are several restrictions which might not be applicable in Western countries.
The do's and don'ts when in Qatar
Get Havya Card
Travellers who are visiting Qatar to enjoy the World Cup should get Havya Card, a personalised document that is issued and required by every single person attending the event. Both a Hayya card (Fan ID) and applicable match ticket are required to access the stadium on match day. Only one Hayya card (Fan ID) is required per person for the duration of the world cup. It works like an entry pass to the country and be used to travel around Doha for free.
No Smoking in Stadium
Smoking, vaping or the use of any other tobacco product or electronic smoking (e-smoking) device, lighters and matches is not permitted within the stadium, including both the inner and outer perimeters. Qatar will be assigning a team of 80 tobacco inspectors to ensure that fans can enjoy smoke-free air while enjoying the matches.
Dress Code in Qatar
Remember Qatar is an Islamic nation and the country has a strict dress code. However, it has been relaxed during the event. However, female fans are advised not to wear certain kinds of outfits as the Qatar laws ban women from exposing their skin. Both men and women are advised not to wear short skirts and sleeveless tops when going out in public. Nonetheless, the FIFA website states that they are allowed to wear clothes as per their choice but should be mindful of the laws.
The country follows zero tolerance for drugs and punishment includes lengthy custodial sentences, heavy fines and deportation.
Carrying alcohol to Qatar is illegal and one can face imprisonment of up to seven years for the offence. It is illegal to consume it in public. People, who want to drink alcohol, are permitted to drink at licensed hotel restaurants and bars. While alcohol will be available to those who want a drink in designated areas, it will not be openly available on the streets.
Last month, it was reported that ticketed fans will be allowed to buy alcoholic beer at World Cup soccer matches starting three hours before kickoff and for one hour after the final whistle, but not during the match.
Mind Your Language
Fans should know that swearing in public and making rude gestures are considered obscene acts and offenders can be jailed and/or deported.
Pornography and Pork Banned
Fans travelling to watch the global soccer championship have been warned not to bring a number of items such as pornography, sex toys, pork products and religious books among others.
Sleeping tablets, painkillers, antidepressants, and hormone replacement therapy drugs along with some over-the-counter remedies are banned in Qatar, Hence, carry your doctor's prescription and a letter from the hospital with the details of the drug in order to avoid seizure of your drugs by the authorities.
No Public Display of Affection
Never display affection in public as it is against the local culture. "Showing overt affection and intimacy in public is frowned upon," Qatar Tourism Authority says.
As per the local law, cohabitation of unmarried couples is prohibited, but the rules have been relaxed only during the tournament. Now, unmarried friends of different genders or couples can stay in the same room. It has to be noted that any extramarital sexual intercourse during the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar could result in a seven-year jail sentence.
No Littering and Photography
No littering in public places and one should not take photographs of local museums, military installations or worship places without permission.
Visitors arriving for the World Cup are no longer required to bring proof of a PCR or RAT test certificate before travelling to the State of Qatar. However, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 while in Qatar will be required to isolate in accordance with Ministry of Public Health guidelines.
The Qatar government recommends visiting fans take out travel insurance (with healthcare cover) for the duration of their stay in Qatar. It gives them access to medical care at any of the country's private or public hospitals, medical centres, clinics and pharmacies. Emergency and urgent healthcare services will be provided for free at public hospitals for Hayya Card holders.