The 2022 World Cup is just around the corner, with nations gearing up for their final international breaks before the tournament kicks off.
England’s preparations for the tournament come in the form of two Nations League fixtures against Italy and Germany in October. After that, the next time the Three Lions will take to the field together will be against Iran for their World Cup opener on 21 November.
With plenty of club football still to be played before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar, it’s easy to forget about it for the time being and postpone all the planning, be it from where you’ll watch it from home, or even getting your last bits sorted before heading out there to watch in person.
Much has been made of the decision to host the tournament in Qatar, in particular the fact the tournament will be played in winter as a result of the extreme heat in the Middle East.
While it’s a term we’ve heard quite often in recent years, the Qatar World Cup genuinely is the definition of unprecedented times, which makes planning for a trip out there rather difficult.
Many of us will be watching from home, picking up severe World Cup fever in the cold of the winter, but there are also plenty who will be making the trip around the world for such an unforgettable event. With that in mind, there is much to be aware of if you are planning to head out to Qatar for the tournament.
So, with the World Cup quickly creeping upon us, we’ve put together a guide of what not to do and what not to take if you’re heading to Qatar – a country that plenty of fans will be travelling to for the first time ever.
Extra precautions must be taken when travelling to Qatar, as is the case with most other Middle Eastern countries, in order to abide by laws and respect their culture.
What you take to Qatar must be considered in order to keep yourself safe and to respect the laws and norms. The following guidance comes from the GOV.UK website.
Alcohol cannot be brought into the country under any circumstances, nor can pork products. Qatar has strict rules on alcohol consumption being a Muslim country, and the same goes for food containing pork.
You are able to purchase alcohol from within the country, from licensed hotel restaurants and bars. Be sure not to carry it around, drink in the streets or appear drunk in public, as this is an offence and could result in a prison sentence of up to six months and/or a fine up to QAR3,000. The legal age for drinking alcohol in Qatar is 21.
Journalists and those working in media will need permission from the Qatar News Agency (QNA) to film or photograph for work purposes and should enter the country on a visiting press permit, in order to allow technical equipment such as cameras to pass through customs.
There is a zero tolerance policy regarding drug-related offences in Qatar. If you need to bring medicinal drugs or prescriptions into the country, clearance will be needed in the form of a doctor’s note.
The GOV.UK website states: “Ensure you carry your official doctor’s prescription, hospital note or a letter from your GP, detailing the drug, the quantity prescribed and dosage. This note or letter should also be signed by the doctor / consultant and stamped by the hospital or surgery,” and provides a link for information on legalised UK documents in Qatar.
Also prohibited under Qatari law is the importation, sale and purchase of electronic cigarettes, liquids and similar products. Cigarettes are not prohibited, but usual laws will apply regarding quantities you can bring along with you.
As mentioned above, it is against the law to drink and be drunk in public places. Doing so can result in severe punishments.
Avoid getting involved with drugs at all. The country has a zero tolerance policy regarding drugs and again carries severe punishment for doing so.
It is important to respect law and culture in Qatar, thus both males and females should dress ‘modestly’ per the GOV UK website. Women must cover their shoulders and not wear short skirts. Both men and women should avoid sleeveless tops and shorts when entering government buildings, health care facilities or malls.
Displays of intimacy should be avoided in public, and visitors must ensure they aren’t behaving offensively. This includes swearing and making rude gestures. Be respectful and take care when interacting with police and other officials.