Qatar has announced that during FIFA World Cup matches, ticketed fans will be allowed to buy alcoholic beer during limited hours: three hours before kick-off and up to one hour before the final whistle, not during the game, rt.com reported.
Budweiser, the main sponsor of the World Cup, will have exclusive rights to sell the beer at the match, serving its drink in a ticket-holders-only perimeter around each stadium, but not in refreshment bars or elsewhere in the stadium.
It should be noted that drinking alcohol or being drunk is a punishable offense by law in Qatar, but local authorities have announced that they will apply a tolerance limit to foreign fans at the next World Cup, Reuters recalled.
The World Cup will actually be the first to be held in a Muslim country where alcohol is strictly controlled, presenting unprecedented challenges for the organizers.
+ Qatar is not very compatible with Western traditions +
Another controversy erupted after an article was published in the British tabloid Daily Star on June 18, which suggested that players and fans were banned from having sex outside of marriage. Sentenced to seven years imprisonment. “Sex is not really on the menu unless you are husband and wife,” says a police source. No one night stands. “Everyone should remain calm so as not to be jailed,” the English daily pointed out.
In principle, relationships outside of marriage are strictly prohibited in Qatar. Unmarried couples cannot be intimate in public and cannot live under the same roof. Otherwise, individuals may be arrested and possibly prosecuted, resulting in fines or imprisonment and deportation from the country. However, this law is very limited in practice, and even less so for tourists or foreigners. For example, to book a room as a couple, you should in theory show a marriage certificate.
The question of LGBT relations for the World Cup is still not fully resolved. Local culture likes to be non-committal, but what happens in arenas? “If a supporter waves a rainbow flag in a stadium and it’s taken away from him, it’s not because he wants to offend him, but to protect him. If we don’t, another spectator might attack him,” World Cup security chief Abdullah al-Ansari reasoned last April.
“Everyone will be welcome here, everyone will feel safe”, Nasser al-Qader, head of the World Cup’s organizing committee, assured the press in November 2021.
Workers (pictured) work at the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Qatar on December 20, 2019.
+ At the heart of the contest is the question of the treatment of foreign workers
But another point of contention that continues to be talked about is the treatment of foreign workers assigned to the construction of the stadium. On August 14, 2022, dozens of foreign workers protested in the city center in Doha to protest delays in the payment of their salaries. At the time, the Qatari government argued that “minorities who do not demonstrate peacefully and who do not act in violation of public security laws are at risk of court-ordered deportation.”
The country did not cut back on the arrangements made for the event. In addition to building the seven stadiums planned for the tournament, the emirate is racing against time to build luxury hotels, roads, tourism infrastructure and a new airport. For this pharaonic project, Qatar can count on more than 2 million migrant workers. As the tiny emirate won the right to organize the Games, the mammoth task required a large number of workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
However, an investigation published by The Guardian in February 2021 suggested that more than 6,500 foreign workers had already died on construction sites over 10 years. An English magazine report estimated that an average of 12 foreign workers die there every week. The figure does not include migrant workers from the Philippines and Kenya.
Many voices are being raised to ignore international competition. On August 7, former German national team captain Philipp Lahm announced his intention to boycott the World Cup. In an interview with Kicker, the former footballer specifically condemned the working conditions of the workers who build the stadiums. “Human rights should play a greater role in delivering competitions”.
In Europe, public opinion seems to be along the same lines. According to a poll conducted by the German press agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 48% of Germans questioned were in favor of withdrawing their national team from the competition. In France, according to a recent poll conducted by Odoxa in April 2022, 39% of French people hold the same opinion, and 55% of them say they are not ready to see the match.
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