World Cup 2022: What fans can and can’t do in Qatar

The Qatar 2022 World Cup is just 50 days away, with the tournament officially kicking off on November 20.

It is the first time the tournament has visited the Middle East, with fans and commentators unsure of what to expect from their visit.

In this guide, The independent explains the legal dos and don’ts when visiting Qatar, including rules on alcohol, dress and behavior during the tournament, and the penalties that rule breakers can face.

Some exceptions to the normal rules have been made for the sake of the World Cup, but it is important to note that Qatari law does not extend leniency to tourists or those who ignore the law, so fans traveling should be extra careful.

The death penalty is still legal in the state, although there has been only one reported case of the sentence being carried out in the past 22 years, according to Amnesty International. Far more likely, given that record and the spotlight that will be under the country while hosting the tournament, will be expulsion, fines and possibly jail time.

Alcohol and drugs

Despite common misconception, it is legal to consume alcohol if you are over 21 in Qatar. Fans can expect to be able to purchase alcohol at “licensed bars or restaurants”.

The state recently announced the relaxation of some of the restrictions on the purchase of alcohol for the duration of the World Cup, with beer available to fans after 6.30pm in fan zones and before and after matches at the eight stadiums. However, alcoholic beverages will not be available during the games themselves inside the stadiums.

Despite the relaxation on licensing and the purchase of alcohol, the laws themselves are expected to remain in place. Drinking in public is still strictly prohibited, as is private drinking that results in intoxication or “nuisance” of other people, punishable by up to three years in prison and heavy fines.

There has been no relaxation in any description regarding their drug policy as fans who attempt to bring illegal drugs into the country are expected to face serious consequences. The death penalty is authorized by law for this offense. The use of such extreme punishment is unlikely. far more likely is a heavy prison sentence, deportation or a huge fine.

clothing items

Fans are advised to dress “modestly”, with shoulders covered and avoiding short skirts. Shorts or sleeveless T-shirts are not recommended, and entry to some official buildings may be denied if found not to adhere to modesty standards, according to the Qatar Tourism Authority.


While smoking cigarettes is legal in Qatar, it is prohibited in all public places, including museums, sports clubs, shopping malls and restaurants. Violators may be subject to fines of up to QAR 3000 (approx £740).

The importation, purchase and use of e-cigarettes has been banned in Qatar since 2014, with offenders facing up to three months in prison and a QAR 10,000 (around £2,400) fine.


Fans traveling with medication are advised to contact the Qatari embassy, ​​as many legal prescription drugs in the UK are banned in the Gulf state. This includes antidepressants such as Xanax or Valium. Drugs like these can carry the same severe penalties as other illegal substances. In some cases, those traveling with medication will need a detailed ‘doctor’s report’ explaining the need for the medication, ie no more than 6 months.

All visitors to Qatar must also have health insurance and fans should expect good quality healthcare if required.

Behavior and intimacy

Previous World Cups and other football tournaments have been criticized for failing to handle fan misconduct, with Qatar keen to avoid it by enforcing its strict obscenity policies. Swearing and obscene gestures are covered under this section of Qatari law, with possible penalties of deportation or imprisonment for these crimes.

Any form of public intimacy, such as kissing, whether heterosexual or homosexual, can lead to arrest in Qatar. The state is also known for its strict laws against homosexuality and members of the LGBT+ community. Anyone found guilty of “leading, inciting, or in any way seducing a man to commit sodomy” can legally face the death penalty, but the most likely is jail time or deportation.

Fans are advised to avoid shaking hands with Qatari women. a gesture that can be interpreted as disrespect.

Hayya cards

Anyone wishing to enter the country after November 1, 2022 will need to apply for a Hayya card. This form of fan ID allows entry into the country, purchasing tickets and booking accommodation, among other things. It is important that fans keep this in their faces at all times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *