Here Are Some Do’s and Don’ts for Visiting Qatar During the World Cup 2022
A press conference marking One Month To Go to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in Doha, on Oct. 17, 2022. (Nikku/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Here Are Some Do’s and Don’ts for Visiting Qatar During the World Cup 2022

The US ambassador to Qatar urged the Gulf country to be patient with and tolerant of World Cup fans

The upcoming World Cup will be the first time that the international FIFA championship tournament is played in a Muslim and an Arab country. Host country Qatar expects about 1.5 million visitors from all over the world, equal to about half of the country’s population.

The global games held every four years and making their first appearance in the Middle East, will be played between November 20 and December 18 this year due to the unbearable heat that Qatar experiences in the summer.

La’eeb, the FIFA World Cup 2022 mascot (Mahtab Mehedi/Wikimedia Commons)

As the events of the World Cup approach, US Ambassador to Qatar Timmy Davis on Tuesday urged Qatari local authorities to be patient with and tolerant of the visitors during their stay for the World Cup.

“We want to make sure that law enforcement … is in the right place. We want to make sure that in the ministries there is a level of patience and tolerance for what the world brings when you invite the world to your country,” Davis told reporters in Doha, describing his conversation with the Qatari authorities on the topic as “vibrant.”

Qatar is a small Arab Muslim state located in the Persian Gulf that is ruled as a monarchy. The country has been governed by the Al Thani family for over 100 years. The vast majority of the population is made up of expats; while Qatari citizens represent a little over 10% of the population. Qatar is one of the world’s largest natural gas producers and it has the fourth highest income rate per capita in the world. Its main source of legislation is Sharia, or Islamic law, which differs in many ways from the most common Western legal systems.

Most Qataris are proud and excited to be the first Middle Eastern country to host the World Cup. Qatar is a relatively conservative country, but extremely welcoming, said Samira Boukrouh, a Canadian expat currently working in Doha.

She told The Media Line that hospitality is a cornerstone of the local culture, and everyone will be welcomed in Qatar.

All World Cup fans should be ready to enjoy one of the best moments in the history of football, known in the United States as soccer, while enjoying authentic Arab culture, Mahmoud, a tour guide in Qatar, told The Media Line. He points out that Qatar is an Islamic country which he described as “very welcoming but close to its roots.”

Qatari authorities have not issued any official statement on their policy approach to visitors during the World Cup. Regardless, there are some elements that foreigners should take into consideration while visiting Qatar.

Generally, if you are having a good time and enjoying sightseeing, the food, and the local culture, you need not worry about anything, according to Mahmoud.

However, he continued, “visitors should refrain from doing some activities that are not allowed in the country.”

Mazin Yahya, the operations manager at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and former accreditation venue manager at FIFA Clubs World Cup, enumerated some of do’s and don’ts on the list of activities.

“Never touch a woman who is not related to you, this can result in jail time and costly fines for you,” he told The Media Line.

Do not photograph police officers or military installations – which are confidential areas, and do not engage in public homosexual relationships, he continued.

Boukrouh said that fans should avoid public displays of affection. “Holding hands in public is tolerated, but nothing beyond that is really acceptable,” she said.

Concerning alcoholic drinks, she said that fans should note that it is not permitted to bring alcohol, which is forbidden under Islamic religious law, into Qatar.

“Fans should avoid traveling with alcohol from their country of origin or purchasing duty-free products to avoid confiscation upon arrival into Qatar,” she advised.

Alcohol is not part of Qatari culture, Boukrouh explained, and as such is not sold in supermarkets, but it is served in licensed restaurants and in many hotels across the country.

But during the World Cup, alcohol will be available in certain designated areas.

Fans will be able to buy beer once they are inside the perimeter of the stadiums from a select number of beach clubs and kiosks on the stadium grounds, but not within the stadiums themselves, she said.

Fans should note that drinking alcohol outside of designated areas is prohibited and that the legal drinking age in Qatar is 21, Boukrouh added.

Mahmoud said there are a few other things to keep in mind.

Visitors should take off their shoes when entering a mosque or a Qatari guest room, known as a Majlis. In addition, Qataris greet others of the same gender by shaking hands, while they salute the opposite gender without touching.

Qatar is a conservative Islamic society, he continued, “so whether you are a man or a woman, it’s better to wear modest clothes in public. Women are not expected to cover their hair in public, but they are expected to do so when visiting mosques.”

Boukrouh pointed out that fans attending matches should note that the removal of shirts in the stadium is not permitted.

Yahya suggests that foreign visitors to Qatar learn how to bargain with shopkeepers. “Do not pay the first amount quoted by the salesmen. Start lower than your ideal price and come up slowly until you reach a deal,” he said.

Avoid asking personal questions, “especially about female members of someone’s family, and steer away from expressing admiration for their material possessions,” Yahya continued.

When eating in restaurants, he added, “you can call the waiter by using the palm of your hand and not your index finger.”

He added that Qatar has great food and, besides local cuisine, the Indian food is very good due to the large number of Indian citizens living in the country.

Boukrouh said that it is important to keep in mind that the first day of the week is Sunday, the weekend is Friday and Saturday, and the holy day is Friday, so banks and other services will be closed.

She concluded: “Have fun when you come to Qatar! Enjoy what you came to watch. Everybody is welcome to Qatar.”

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