The Margin: In Qatar, is it legal to drink alcohol?


Thousands of people will be traveling to Qatar this month for the 2022 World Cup, but there are several local regulations that travelers may want to know before they enter the country, including rules surrounding alcohol.

The country does not permit its people to drink alcohol in public or to be drunk in public, a travel guide from the U.K. government states, and “drinking in a public place could result in a prison sentence of up to 6 months.” There are some hotels and bars in Qatar that are allowed to sell alcohol, but those establishments have obtained licenses to do so.

See also: Budweiser says it will award unconsumed Qatar beer to the World Cup winner

Drinking alcohol is not illegal in Qatar, but these rules severely limit its overall consumption.

The legal drinking age in Qatar is 21, and proof of age via a photo ID is required at the hotels or bars where alcohol consumption is permitted.

See: Why is 2022 Qatar World Cup so controversial? Here’s a list of issues overshadowing FIFA’s tournament.

In addition to rules regarding alcohol, the Persian Gulf country also has strict rules surrounding dress (particularly for women), proselytizing, same-sex relationships, women traveling alone and photography. The U.S. guide for Qatar travelers provides specifics in each of these areas.

The conservative Muslim nation announced it would not allow the sale of alcohol during the 2022 World Cup last week, aside from in a few luxury hospitality areas of the stadiums — most fans don’t have access to those areas, but will be able to consume beer in the evenings in what is known as the FIFA Fan Festival, a designated area that also offers live music and activities.

“Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing sales points of beer from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters,” the statement from FIFA said.

Read on: Could Qatar’s ‘reusable’ World Cup stadium end up in Uruguay? There are some amazing plans for tournament venues.

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