04:13 GMT +310 December 2019
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    A picture taken with a fisheye lens on May 19, 2017, shows a general view of the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, after it was refurbished ahead of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, as fans arrive to attend the Qatar Emir Cup Final football match between Al-Sadd and Al-Rayyan

    Qatar Plans to 'Banish' Drinkers to Desert During 2022 World Cup

    © AFP 2019 / KARIM JAAFAR
    Middle East
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    Although drinking alcohol in Qatar, which was announced as the 2022 World Cup host in 2010, is not prohibited, it should not draw public attention, according to the authorities. The country has designed a “venue” for alcohol consumption for football fans.

    Hassan Al Thawadi, the secretary-general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy who led Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 football tournament, has said in an interview with Arabic language newspaper Al-Sharq that drinking will be allowed in “specific far-away places” and it turned out that those places are… isolated deserts. Football fans will be able to drink alcohol only in those sites which are miles away from stadiums so that they cannot disturb local residents.

    READ MORE: Offside in the Gulf: Qatar Risks Losing Right to Host FIFA World Cup 2022

    Thawadi, who is against the provision of alcohol in public places himself, apparently did not expect that his suggestion would cause fury and even calls for a global boycott among fans.

    “Who in their right mind would go to an Arab state where they shunt you miles into the desert to get a pint before the game?” an English Football Association source said, adding “Sponsors like Budweiser are in an awkward position and there are real fears of a global boycott.”

    The move comes amid major international criticism towards Qatar as an “inappropriate” host of the 2022 World Cup. The Gulf States and the US have repeatedly accused the government of violating human rights, funding terrorist groups and indicated security issues along with travel difficulties.

    FIFA, alcohol, football, Qatar
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