It will be all business for athletes at this year’s World Cup in Qatar and absolutely no funny business tolerated from fans.
The host nation has strict bans on both unmarried sex and public alcohol consumption. Any fans or visitors that break either of those laws could get up to seven years behind bars.
A police source told the Daily Star in the United Kingdom that “sex is very much off the menu, unless you are coming as a husband and wife team. There definitely will be no one-night stands at this tournament.”
The Daily Star reported that some fans with different last names are already being stopped from booking and sharing hotel rooms.
“With very strict and scary consequences if you are caught. There is a feeling this could be a very bad tournament indeed for fans,” a source told the Daily Star.
“Zina” is the legal term that traditionalist Islamic countries, such as Qatar, use to criminalize multiple kinds of illicit sex, including premarital sex and homosexuality.
That stance gave some in U.K. law enforcement pause, per the Daily Star, who didn’t want British fans landing in trouble for “doing everyday things accepted at and after games.”
But Nasser al-Khater, Qatar’s chief executive for the World Cup, said “… public displays of affection are frowned upon, it’s not part of our culture – and that goes across the board to everybody.”
The general secretary of the Qatar Football Association, Mansoor Al Ansari, said the country was even considering banning rainbow flags at the games, which will be held Nov. 21-Dec. 18.
Earlier reports have suggested that the rules about drinking alcohol at games have been relaxed. In early 2021, Ireland-based RTE reported that MATCH Hospitality, the World Cup’s hospitality provider, said they expect people to be able to drink at games.
However, imbibing will be a luxury item. The New York Post reported in February that fans will be allowed to consume alcohol in a private MATCH Pearl Lounge suite — if they can afford the $4,950 ticket.
RTE said that the host nation did experiment with a “wet fan zone” when it hosted the FIFA Club World Cup in 2019. There, fans could get beer for an affordable price at a designated site outside of the capital Doha, rather than pay a significantly higher amount at a few select high-end hotels in the capital.
I News in the UK reported in November that some locations in downtown Doha, such as Al Bidda Park and Souq Waqif Park, are being considered as sites for wet fan zones.