Qataris allay fears over booze crackdown as they prepare to welcome the world

September 21 – World Cup fans in Qatar caught committing minor offences such as public drunkenness will reportedly escape prosecution under plans being drawn up by authorities in the country.

Reuters quotes unnamed sources as saying that Qatar intends to show flexibility for less serious infringements of its strict regulations.

“Minor offences won’t result in a fine or arrest, but police will be instructed to go to a person and ask him or her to comply,” one source was quoted as saying.

While not a “dry” state like Saudi Arabia, Qatar only allows alcohol sales under strict limitations and drinking alcohol in public places is illegal.  World Cup CEO Nasser Al Khater told the BBC a few days ago that organisers are still “finalising our alcohol strategy” but it has already been announced that the rules are being relaxed so that alcohol can be served “in select areas within stadiums” prior to kick-off and after the final whistle.

Licensed hotel bars and restaurants are the only places that usually sell alcohol where a pint of beer can cost $18, but visitors will also be able to purchase alcohol at a 40,000-capacity fan zone in Doha, albeit most likely only Budweiser,  a major World Cup sponsor with exclusive rights to sell beer at the tournament.

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