World Cup 2022: Qatar to set up recovery zones for drunk fans

Qatar, a Muslim country where drinking is normally illegal, is set to make an exception for fan zones and stadiums during the World Cup.

 A view of the World Cup Trophy during an event marking "200 Days To Go" ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, in Doha, Qatar May 6, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/IMAD CREIDI)
A view of the World Cup Trophy during an event marking "200 Days To Go" ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, in Doha, Qatar May 6, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/IMAD CREIDI)

Qatar, which is set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup this November, has established special zones at tournament venues where drunk fans will be able to sober up, Qatar's World Cup chief Nasser Al Khater said Thursday.

Qatar, a Muslim country where drinking is normally illegal, is set to make an exception for fan zones and stadiums during the World Cup, which runs from November 20th to December 18th.

"There are plans in place for people to sober up if they've been drinking excessively," Al Khater, who is chief executive of the supreme committee, told Sky News. "It's a place to make sure that they keep themselves safe, they're not harmful to anybody else."

Unruly fans will be placed in the zone until deemed sufficiently recovered to enter public areas again. Fans who are sent to the zones will also be issued an official warning.

Malaysia v Indonesia - World Cup 2022 Qualifier, Second Round Group G and Asian Cup 2023 Qualifier Preliminary Round 2 Group G - Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - November 19, 2019 General view as fans light a flare in the stands. (credit: REUTERS/LIM HUEY TENG)Malaysia v Indonesia - World Cup 2022 Qualifier, Second Round Group G and Asian Cup 2023 Qualifier Preliminary Round 2 Group G - Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - November 19, 2019 General view as fans light a flare in the stands. (credit: REUTERS/LIM HUEY TENG)

Criticism of Qatar’s World Cup planning

Critics of Qatar’s human rights record point to the ban on homosexuality in Qatar and fear they may be discriminated against. Al-Khater assured visitors that would not be the case in his Sky News interview.

"This is a sporting tournament that people want to come and enjoy… as long as you don't do anything that harms other people, if you're not destroying public property, as long as you're behaving in a way that's not harmful, then everybody's welcome and you have nothing to worry about,” Al-Khater declared.

Al-Khater did, however, warn players and organizations against making public statements against Qatar and its human rights record. "All we ask is for people to be respectful of the culture," he said.

"All we ask is for people to be respectful of the culture."

Nasser Al-Khater, World Cup chief for Qatar.

Israelis will also be able to enter Qatar, marking the first time Israeli nationals will be able to enter the gulf country, which typically denies entry to Israelis and is a geopolitical rival of the country.