Let's be honest, one of the most long-lived rituals of the vast majority of soccer fans is not only to attend stadiums, wear the jersey of their favorite team and celebrate their goals; it is also to ingest a good dose of alcohol, mainly beer. What is the outlook for Qatar 2022?

The host country of the upcoming FIFA World Cup belongs to the Muslim culture, which not only prohibits but also demonizes the consumption of alcoholic beverages in any context and at any time. Undoubtedly, the main tournament of soccer's universe will be a cultural clash that will demand patience, empathy, and tolerance from both sides: the hosts and the guests.

Then, there will be the possibility that the euphoria and passion for soccer and the ecstasy reached by its fans thanks to liters and liters of alcohol can be experienced during the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Let's figure it out.

Is it usually possible to drink alcohol in Qatar?

On a day-to-day basis, it is possible to consume alcohol in this Middle East country, however, there is a very broad restriction to avoid it as much as possible. What is strictly forbidden is to drink alcohol on public roads and, likewise, to be drunk on them. Both actions can result in a prison sentence of up to 6 months and a fine of up to 825 dollars. 

Where can you drink alcohol in Qatar day-to-day?

At the outset, it should be noted that to drink alcohol you need to buy it first. This right in Qatar is only available to those who can prove they are 21 years of age or older. Then, it is necessary to apply for a license to be able to buy it. This permit is obtained through a bureaucratic procedure in which you must submit a letter from your employer declaring your monthly salary since only a portion of your income can be used to buy alcohol.

The above applies in an everyday context in the host country of the upcoming FIFA World Cup for local and foreign residents, however, this could be different during the celebration of the main event of soccer from November 20 to December 18.

Where to buy alcohol in Qatar?

In a show of congruence with their values, access to alcohol is very limited, despite being over 21 years of age and having a permit to purchase it. Thus, it can only be obtained in authorized restaurants, luxury hotels, and through the authorized distributor, all of them mostly located in Doha. Contrary to the situation in other countries, not all bars have a permit to dispense alcohol.

Likewise, it may be helpful to keep in mind that it is not possible to carry alcohol with you on your daily travels and it may be a sanction to be stopped, searched, and found with alcoholic beverages in your belongings. Of course, you can transport it from the point of sale where you bought it to your accommodation only on the day you bought it (you will have to prove it).

How many authorized distributors of alcoholic beverages are there in Qatar?

Again, this manifests the cultural clash between Qatar and many of the countries of origin of the fans attending the upcoming FIFA World Cup. The only place authorized by the government to sell alcoholic beverages to hotels, restaurants and the authorized general public is the Qatar Distribution Company. 

The QDC is also in charge of issuing the permit to purchase alcohol for the general public, or to sell alcohol for those establishments authorized to do so. It is located at the following location: Umm Al Jefairat، Doha (Abu Hamour area, off Wholesale Market Road). Its opening hours are from Saturday to Thursday from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm, and on Fridays from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

How much do alcoholic beverages cost in Qatar?

As of January 1, 2019, a tax known as the "Sin Tax" went into effect, which taxes all alcoholic beverages at 100% tax (yes, you read that right). Thus, according to the New York Times, a 24-pack of beer costs 104 dollars; and a one-liter bottle of gin 84 dollars.

The sale and consumption of alcohol in the context of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022

The bleak picture mentioned recently is the one that is experienced in the host country of the World Cup daily. However, it is a fact that FIFA and the sponsors of the tournament will take steps to ease the measures to allow easier access to alcoholic beverages to the millions of people who will presumably attend this event.

Nasser al-Khater, the chief executive officer of Qatar 2022 donned the superhero costume and stated: "Alcohol is not part of our culture, however, hospitality is. Alcohol is not as readily available here as in other parts of the world but for the World Cup we want to ensure it is accessible for fans who want to have a drink, so we are trying to find designated locations for fans to have alcohol, other than traditional places such as hotels and so forth. We recognize there is an issue with the price and it is something we are looking into. We are looking at finding ways to reduce the price of alcohol.”, has been said in 2019.

Consuming alcohol inside Qatar 2022 stadiums: will it be possible?

Although it is still uncertain whether alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase and consumption inside the stadiums, as is normally the case around the world, a simulation was conducted during the FIFA Club World Cup 2019. 

During this tournament won by Liverpool FC, a kind of Fan Zone was set up on the outskirts of Doha, where alcohol consumption was allowed. Even in this paradise for alcohol lovers, the prices of beer, wine, and other varieties of beverages were much lower than those offered by authorized distributors such as hotels and restaurants.

Some rumors suggest that the final determination on this vital issue for many of the fans attending the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will involve the permission to drink alcohol inside the stadiums where the 64  matches of this tournament will be held but a ban to access to the seats with these beverages on hand.

... And what about smoking in Qatar 2022?

Cigarette smoking is laxer in Qatar than alcohol consumption, but smoking is not allowed anywhere, even on public roads. There are designated smoking areas, which must be respected under the penalty of paying a fine of up to 800 dollars.