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HomeSportsFootball'Dry' World Cup? Not quite but in Doha fans feel safer

‘Dry’ World Cup? Not quite but in Doha fans feel safer

Unless you’re on the lookout for it, you’ll be able to miss the juices and mocktails. It is within the backside nook above cigarettes within the red-and-white exhausting paper record that opens into three pages when unfolded. There are six manufacturers of beer; 30 manufacturers of whiskey unfold throughout classes corresponding to American, Canadian, Irish, common, premium and single malts; brandy and cognac; vodka; rum; tequila; gin; liqueur; wines white and purple; cocktails and shooters.

A can of beer is 40 riyals, a 30ml peg of premium whiskey can go as much as 300 riyals, vodkas vary from 50 to 66 riyals and rum is priced at a flat 50 riyals. (One Qatari riyal is roughly Rs.22.6.). “We have offers,” mentioned one of many ready workers. “You can buy a bottle and come back another day to finish it.” The man mentioned he was from Maharashtra.

Studio discussions on the World Cup or clips of group stage video games performed on mute, two deejays cranked up the amount with remixes, strobe lights blinked and bouncers in black fits stared into the center distance within the spacious bar. Nearly half of the 60-odd covers had been occupied, largely by males, on a mid-week night in a rustic the place Friday and Saturday are weekends and Sunday a full working day.

Normal service in a rustic that is hosing the World Cup, proper? Not fairly. In the Islamic state of Qatar, not like in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Sharjah within the United Arab Emirates the place it’s banned, alcohol is restricted. Visitors to Qatar aren’t allowed to hold alcohol however there are obligation free shops promoting liquor within the departure areas of airports. Drinking in public and being drunk are each punishable by legislation.

It has led to a match shorn of public washrooms clogged with vomit – prefer it was on the prepare from Munich to Berlin two days earlier than the 2006 remaining. People handed out on pavements, rowdy celebrations that will typically degenerate into lewd feedback and incidents of violence fuelled by heavy ingesting that dot main soccer tournaments.

Some of the current examples are: Marseille 2016 when England and Russia followers clashed; Sao Paulo 2014 when Brazilians attacked English followers needing them to be taken to hospital and the storming of the Maracana by Chilean supporters on the identical match; fisticuffs between followers of Brazil and Serbia in Moscow in 2018; an English fan was so drunk in Moscow that he couldn’t spell his title and this was earlier than the World Cup started.

This bar within the floor ground of a resort at Al Mansoura is among the many almost 200 locations in Doha the place you’ll be able to drink. World Cup guests have to have their Hayya Card, the entry allow to the nation that can also be a free bus and metro move and presents discounted charges for museum visits, scanned on the entrance.

Those with permits can even purchase liquor on the Qatar Distribution Company (QDC) retailer in Abu Hamour. Getting a allow includes sharing private info with QDC earlier than in search of an appointment. At the QDC retailer, 24 cans of beer can be found for about 470 riyals. QDC is below Qatar Airways and solely the nationwide provider is allowed to distribute alcohol within the nation.

Beer and wine are additionally out there on the sprawling Qatar National Convention Centre in Al Rayyan the place the principle media centre is situated. Fan zones too serve beer however solely 500ml Budweiser, a FIFA associate, cans can be found for 50 riyals. White males with beer cans could be seen close to smoking bays late within the night time at FIFA lodging in Al Sadd and elsewhere.

In a last-minute U-turn, FIFA additionally eliminated beer gardens from the eight stadiums internet hosting World Cup video games the place solely the non-alcoholic Bud Zero is accessible. Coming so near the November 20 begin, the choice triggered a stir although FIFA president Gianni Infantino, after explaining that an try was made until the tip to serve beer at video games, had mentioned: “If this is the biggest issue of this World Cup, I will go to the beach and relax.”

At a press convention earlier than the match, Infantino had mentioned the identical no-alcohol rule utilized to soccer venues in France, Spain, Scotland and Portugal. Beer has been out there at World Cup stadiums although.

One day into the match, a Qatari was quoted as saying in Al Jazeera that whereas all are welcome, it is crucial for guests to respect the foundations of this nation. “Qatar is an Islamic country, and alcohol is ‘haram’ (forbidden) in our religion. All we ask is for the world to show some ‘ehtaram’ (respect) for our culture.”

Absence of alcohol at stadiums has led to a greater expertise, mentioned some followers. “This World Cup has shown that it is possible,” mentioned Hubert Bichel, a volunteer from Stuttgart. “I celebrated a Morocco win with a group of fans with lots of milkshake and we had a good time.”

According to Todd Bechtel, who mentioned he was from Dallas, “no alcohol means people do stupid things less.” In white thobes that had colors of the USA flag splashed in entrance, Bechtel was with pal Ray Stafin on the USA-Iran recreation on November 29 at Al Thumama Stadium. Stafin, who mentioned he as from Dallas, mentioned it made him really feel safer.

“I have seen enough drunks at football grounds and I don’t miss them,” mentioned Dorothy Jones, who mentioned she was from Ottawa earlier than the Croatia-Belgium recreation on December 1 at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.

Speaking after the Khalifa Stadium after Netherlands beat USA 3-1 on December 3, Trevor mentioned: “No beer means 50-year-old men like me don’t have to keep running to the bathroom and incidents that could mar your experience avoided.” Trevor gave just one title and mentioned he was from Ontario. He was right here with two teenaged daughters and spouse on a nine-day World Cup vacation.

Going across the combined zone after Australia beat Tunisia was the query: Would you have a good time with a couple of cans of Bud Zero? That was Australia’s first win in 12 years in a contest which, because it hits the homestretch, has proven {that a} ‘dry’ World Cup could be an pleasurable expertise.


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