While the focus has rightly been on corruption allegations in the bidding process, bribery, money laundering, forced labor, human rights abuses, the host country’s stance towards members of the LGBT community and climactic conditions resulting in a contentious decision to move the tournament to November and December, Qatari officials have come to another controversial decision by forbidding the consumption of alcohol “on the streets, squares and [in] public places” at the 2022 World Cup.
TIME reports that the secretary-general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Hassan Abdullah Al-Thawadi, has decreed this decision as “final” and that fans looking for libations will need to go to “far-away places”.
The decision is in keeping with Qatari law which forbids public intoxication and severely restricts the consumption and sale of alcholic beverages. It was presumed that Qatar would relax these restrictions with the influx of foreign fans at the tournament and designate certain areas for drinking.
However, Al-Thawadi has made it clear that Qatar will not alter its laws, saying: "We are against the provision of alcohol in stadiums and their surroundings."
Beginning with the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, FIFA Fan Fests, large public viewing events organized by FIFA where supporters could gather amongst nations, drink and watch matches on gigantic LED displays, have proven massively popular for supporters who only wish to partake in the carnival-like atmosphere of the World Cup.
The 2022 World Cup will be the first held in the Middle East and was awarded to Qatar over bids from the United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia.