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From sex toys, to pork products and skimpy outfits… items banned at Qatar World Cup

The thousands of English and Welsh football fans heading to the Qatar World Cup this month have been warned to be careful what they put in their suitcases due to the plethora of contraband items that could land them fines, in a jail cell or deported back to Britain.

The Foreign Office has issued guidance to supporters urging them to ‘respect local traditions and customs’ including public displays of affection, dressing modestly and any drunken behaviour.

Those who do travel will face draconian rules from the moment they land in Qatar. Supporters should avoid purchasing duty-free booze because the importation of alcohol is illegal. And anyone found taking it into the country will have their stash confiscated and could face imprisonment. 

Importing any pornography and sex toys, pork products and religious books into Qatar is also illegal with all luggage scanned at Hamad International Airport Arrivals Hall and contraband seized. Any drugs bought over the counter such as codeine must come with a prescription note or will be taken away.

World Cup chiefs are expecting fewer fans from the UK than usual – with many put off by alcohol bans and ‘shoebox’ accommodation. There are also deep concerns about allowing a conservative state with a poor human rights record and appalling treatment of the LGBTQ community to host a World Cup.

Only about 3,000 to 4,000 Three Lions supporters, and up to 3,000 cheering on the Wales team, are likely to travel to Qatar this month. Up to 100,000 England fans would be expected to attend a tournament elsewhere in the globe.

The 7,000 UK visitors is much less than at previous tournaments, with some fans complaining of overpriced accommodation, strict rules on drinking and socialising and excessively hot conditions in the tiny Gulf state.

Qatar is a strict Muslim country and drinking alcohol is prohibited except in high-end hotels and a dedicated open-air ‘fan zone’ along the seafront.

Thanks to a ‘sin tax’ applied to all alcohol sales during the tournament, drinks in the fan zone are expected to cost £13 a pint, with prices in the top hotels rising to an eye-watering £80 a beer during the semi-finals and final.

All sorts of items that are freely used or worn in the UK are banned in Qatar. Flouting those laws could land football fans in deep trouble

All sorts of items that are freely used or worn in the UK are banned in Qatar. Flouting those laws could land football fans in deep trouble

Argentina fans play in Doha today with less than two weeks until the World Cup begins in Qatar

Argentina fans play in Doha today with less than two weeks until the World Cup begins in Qatar

From religious books and booze to sausages and sex outside of marriage: The (LONG) list of things banned in Qatar that could land England and Wales fans in jail or deported

DRUGS 

There is zero tolerance for drugs-related offences in Qatar. The penalties for the use of, trafficking, smuggling and possession of drugs (even residual amounts) are severe. Punishment can include lengthy custodial sentences, heavy fines and deportation.

Some prescribed and over the counter medicines may be controlled substances in Qatar. If you need to bring in controlled/prescription medication into Qatar, ensure you carry your official doctor’s prescription, hospital note or a letter from your GP, detailing the drug, the quantity prescribed and dosage. 

BOOZE 

It is an offence to drink alcohol or be drunk in public. British nationals have been detained under this law, usually when they have come to the attention of the police on a related matter, such as disorderly or offensive behaviour. For example, drinking in a public place could result in a prison sentence of up to 6 months and/or a fine up to QAR3,000 (£736).

Alcohol is available only at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system. Don’t carry alcohol around with you (except to take it on the day of collection from the warehouse to your home). The legal drinking age in Qatar is 21, and establishments serving alcohol will ask for original photo ID upon entry.

SWEARING 

Swearing and making rude gestures are considered obscene acts and offenders can be jailed and/or deported. Take particular care when dealing with the police and other officials.

PHOTOS AND FILMING 

Be aware of cultural sensitivities when filming or photographing people and religious, military or construction sites. Some visitors attempting to film or photograph in sensitive areas have been arrested. If in doubt, seek permission.

There are strict privacy laws in Qatar. Posting material (including videos and photographs) online that appear to insult, slander or are culturally insensitive, may be considered a crime punishable under Qatari law. Individuals have been detained, prosecuted and/or convicted for posting this type of material.

BANNED ITEMS 

Importing pornography, pork products and religious books into Qatar is illegal. All luggage is scanned at Hamad International Airport Arrivals Hall. DVDs and videos may be examined, censored and confiscated.

VAPES 

Qatar law also prohibits the importation, sale and purchase of electronic cigarettes, liquids and other similar products (eg electronic shisha pipes). The law applies regardless of quantity and intended use. Customs officials may seize and confiscate any such items found entering the country by any means, including in passengers’ luggage or sent by post.

CLOTHING

You should dress modestly when in public, including while driving. Women must cover their shoulders and avoid wearing short skirts. Both men and women are advised not to wear shorts or sleeveless tops, when going to government buildings, health care facilities or malls. If you do not dress modestly, you may be asked to leave or be denied entry to these locations.

SEX/RELATIONSHIPS 

Living together whilst unmarried is prohibited in Qatar, and sex outside of marriage, regardless of whether this is same sex couples or opposite sex couples, is illegal. This can lead to arrest and a potential court case where the judgement can include a fine, a custodial sentence and deportation once the sentence is complete. This is especially so where the behaviour has caused offence. See Local laws and customs page.

Due to the laws on sex outside marriage, if you become pregnant outside marriage, both you and your partner could face imprisonment and/or deportation. Doctors will ask for proof of marriage during ante-natal checks. An unmarried woman who gives birth in Qatar may also encounter problems when registering the birth of the child in Qatar, and could be arrested, imprisoned or deported. To get a birth certificate from the Qatari authorities, you must provide a marriage certificate and the authorities may compare the date of the marriage against the estimated date of conception.

LGBT RIGHTS 

Homosexual behaviour is illegal in Qatar. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

FINANCIAL CRIME 

Financial crimes, including fraud, giving somebody a cheque which bounces (including post-dated and ‘security cheques’) and non-payment of bills (for example hotel bills or car hire) can result in imprisonment and/or a fine and deportation in Qatar. Bank accounts and other assets may also be frozen. You may also be liable for cheques that you have signed on behalf of a company.

SOURCE: UK FOREIGN OFFICE 

Drinking anywhere else, along with betting, swearing, vaping and any public displays of affection – for both gay and heterosexual couples – are offences that can lead to arrest.

Police ‘peacekeepers’ are even being deployed to Qatar to help boisterous football fans avoid arrest at the World Cup.

Specialist UK officers will intervene to ‘calm down’ supporters who risk breaching strict morality laws.

Drinking alcohol outside fan zones, swearing and public displays of affection are all offences that can lead to arrest in the hardline Islamic country.

Qatar is hiring hardened police officers from Pakistan and Turkey to help enforce law and order during the tournament, which starts on November 20.

And for the first time at a World Cup, Britain is sending a contingent of 15 police officers to help fans avoid confrontation with the security forces. These peacekeepers — known as ‘supporter engagement officers’ — will act as intermediaries to try to ‘de-escalate’ situations.

While the England’s squad’s wives and girlfriends will be living it up aboard a £1billion floating palace dubbed ‘HMS Wag’, the luxury liner MSC World Europa which will sail offshore, ordinary fans face a more modest prospect.

Qatar’s tourism chiefs have trumpeted basic cabins costing £230 a night which will be home to thousands of fans during the tournament which runs from November 20 to December 18, but unimpressed supporters have dubbed them ‘shoeboxes in the desert’.

The brightly-coloured huts near Doha airport have two single beds, a toilet and a shower and air conditioning – vital in the 90F (32C) temperatures.

Some 60 per cent of the 6,000 cabins in the supporters’ village – where fans without stadium tickets can watch the matches on a large TV screen – have already been booked up.

Fans are being warned that a trip for the whole tournament could cost them upwards of £5,000, including travel and accommodation. Some supporters have decided to base themselves in nearby Dubai due to a lack of affordable hotels in Doha.

As if the booze bans or high prices are not sobering enough, fans have also been advised by health experts to steer clear of camels, owing to an outbreak of Camel flu, or MERS-CoV, which can be transmitted to humans.

Unlike Covid-19, there is no vaccine or treatment and fans following England and Wales have been warned to heed UK Government advice to avoid the animals, which are a common sight in the Middle Eastern country.

The Qatari authorities have repeatedly stressed that ‘everyone is welcome’ in their country for what they are billing as the greatest ever World Cup, and the first to be held in the Middle East.

The Qataris have spent a fortune getting everything ready for the fans, spending an astonishing £185billion, more than 10 times the previous most expensive World Cup, the £15billion Brazil spent for the 2014 tournament. Qatar has 50 new hotels, including a Waldorf Astoria, a Fairmont Raffles and the Lusail Winter Wonderland.

There will be a kitesurfing resort for water sports, a yacht club and an eco-friendly desert resort at the most expensive tournament in history.

 With eight stadiums in an area around the size of Yorkshire, there will be 110 metro trains and 4,000 buses a day to ferry fans around.

Qatar is a virtually crime-free country, and it is shipping in thousands of police officers from Turkey and Pakistan to enforce law and order during the tournament.

British police are sending a squad of ‘peacekeepers’ to help boisterous football fans avoid arrest. 

The highly experienced UK officers will intervene to ‘calm down’ any supporters who risk breaching strict morality laws.

For the first time at a World Cup, Britain is sending a contingent of 15 police officers to help exuberant fans avoid confrontation with the security forces. 

These peacekeepers – known as ‘supporter engagement officers’ – will act as intermediaries to try to ‘de-escalate’ situations.

British police chiefs have spent months talking to authorities in the Gulf state to plan for a smooth tournament – including explaining to their counterparts that ‘noisy’ England fans aren’t necessarily being aggressive.

The World Cup kicks off a week tomorrow (November 20) when hosts Qatar play Ecuador, with England and Wales kicking off their tournaments a day later against Iran and the USA respectively.

Earlier this month it emerged that a group of England fans will be paid by Qatar to attend the World Cup and chant on command at matches and the opening ceremony with the Welsh also signed up to a scheme branded ‘sinister’ by critics.

The 40 football supporters from each country will reportedly be instructed to deliver positive messages about their experience in the Gulf state and report critical social media posts.

The idea is that the fans should sit together, singing and waving flags for the television cameras, The Times claims. 

Influencers and celebrities have also reportedly been signed up by Qatar, which counts David Beckham as an official ambassador.

Supporters from Wales have also signed up to the so-called Fan Leader Programme, along with 30 other nations’ fans. But critics have said they are being used as part of a ‘sinister, distasteful’ marketing exercise.

In return for staying in Qatar for a minimum of two weeks, they will enjoy free flights and accommodation as well as £60-a-day spending money on a pre-loaded card from tournament sponsor Visa.

They will also reportedly receive complimentary tickets to the opening ceremony and matches having signed a ‘code of conduct’ before they take off for Doha on November 17.   

They will be urged to post favourable comments about the tournament on social media and report ‘any offensive, degrading or abusive comments’ to organisers, preferably with screenshots. 

One document seen by the newspaper, sent to fan leaders, says of the opening ceremony: ‘In celebration of the fans around the world, over the period of five minutes, fan chants from each nation will be played and you will be expected to stand up, sing the song/chant, wave your flags and represent your country.

Fans paid to be in Qatar will sit together, singing and playing for the television cameras. Influencers and celebrities have also reportedly been signed up by Qatar, which counts David Beckham as an official ambassador (pictured in Doha with the so-called Fan Leader Network)

Fans paid to be in Qatar will sit together, singing and playing for the television cameras. Influencers and celebrities have also reportedly been signed up by Qatar, which counts David Beckham as an official ambassador (pictured in Doha with the so-called Fan Leader Network)

World Cup organisers are paying for some fans to attend this year's tournament in Qatar

World Cup organisers are paying for some fans to attend this year’s tournament in Qatar

Organisers want fans to only post positive comments about the tournament on social media

Organisers want fans to only post positive comments about the tournament on social media

‘The camera will focus on each national fan group in turn. We will share with you the chant/song selected from your country to ensure you are familiar with it.’ 

In bold red letters it adds: ‘Be ready in your shirt, flags and scarves to cheer and shout.’

The English Football Association have said they found out the full details of the plan from the media and claim they are not involved.

A spokesman said: ‘We were told this was an opportunity to engage with fans from all competing nations to ensure that the voice of supporters was clearly heard in the planning for the World Cup and that many international football associations were being approached

‘We have had no more involvement with the scheme, and no sight of the “code of conduct” or any of the terms and conditions of involvement.’

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) confirmed the policy of inviting groups of supporters to the finals as guests after reports by Dutch public broadcaster NOS, which said on Sunday that Qatar was paying for flights and hotels for a group of 50 Dutch fans.

‘As the tournament nears, we have invited our most active fan leaders to personally nominate a small selection of fans to join us as our guests, as a manner of thanking them for their collaboration,’ a spokesman for the SC said.

On its website, the Qatar World Cup describes its Fan Leaders programme as a network of around 400 fans and influencers who have offered ‘insights, research, content creation and message amplification’ for the tournament.

Organisers did not say how many fans they had invited, or provide financial details.

The World Cup starts later this month and will continue until the final on December 18

The World Cup starts later this month and will continue until the final on December 18

Ex-England gay footballer slams FIFA decision to host World Cup in Qatar

A former England footballer who is planning to come out as gay has criticised FIFA‘s decision to host the World Cup in Qatar.

It has been revealed that the star may talk about his sexuality live on television.

He thinks that Qatar’s anti-LGBT stance should have meant that FIFA did not make the call to hold the World Cup there. The tournament kicks off in November.

A source told The Sun: ‘He thinks it was wrong to decide the tournament should be played in Qatar when they criminalise homosexual relationships.

‘Obviously England will be taking part but he doesn’t blame them. He’s heartened to see the current squad of players will support the LGBTQ movement and captain Harry Kane will wear the OneLove rainbow armband.’

The unnamed former footballer is also hoping for protests against Qatar’s militant view on homosexuality, according to the source.

It comes after Gary Lineker earlier this month said that two gay Premier League footballers were considering coming out during the tournament.

He said that if they were to announce their sexuality, it would send a ‘strong message’ to Qatar. 

Same-sex relationships are illegal in Qatar due to its strict Islamic rulers.

It has also emerged that Amnesty International has urged Fifa to pay at least £350 million of compensation to Qatar stadium workers for the ‘human rights abuses’ they have been subjected to.

In its code of conduct, the SC asks the Fan Leaders to agree to incorporate its content in their social media posts and to support the World Cup by liking and re-sharing posts by third parties about it.

It also stated fans are not expected to be a ‘mouthpiece’ for Qatar, but added it ‘would obviously not be appropriate to disparage Qatar, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy or the FIFA World Cup’.

Belgian and French media have also reported that selected groups of fans from these countries were offered a free trip to the World Cup by Qatar.

Yesterday it emerged that an advertising campaign featuring David Beckham that claims FIFA‘s Qatar World Cup will be carbon neutral is ‘dangerous and misleading’, climate experts and environmentalists warned. 

The promotional material featuring official ambassador Beckham, advertising the controversial tournament due to kick-off in Doha within weeks, has been reported to watchdogs in the UK and across Europe.

FIFA has made lofty promises of hosting the first carbon-neutral World Cup in history, with a carbon footprint of 3.6million tons of equivalent carbon waste which would be offset by eco-friendly initiatives.

The competition, hosted in the Gulf state for the first time in its 92-year history, has already attracted global criticism over Qatar’s murky human rights record and stance on LGBT+ issues.

But academics have now claimed FIFA has underestimated the tournament’s carbon footprint and in reality is likely to emit significantly more pollution than suggested.

Climate experts, footballing bodies, players and fans have since come together and called on FIFA’s sustainability policies to be scrapped as they penned an open letter to the governing body of international football.

Professor Mike Berners-Lee, of Lancaster University, claims the total number of carbon emissions could exceed 10million tons, which would be more than three times FIFA’s original estimate.

Kevin Anderson, a climate professor at Manchester University, described FIFA’s claims as ‘deeply misleading and incredibly dangerous’.

‘There will be a direct human cost to this tournament,’ he told the BBC.

‘This is a huge amount of emissions for one sporting event. It’s these emissions that will have an impact around the world.’

The promotional material for Qatar 2022 featuring official ambassador David Beckham (pictured above in an earlier advertising campaign) has been reported to watchdogs in the UK and across Europe

The promotional material for Qatar 2022 featuring official ambassador David Beckham (pictured above in an earlier advertising campaign) has been reported to watchdogs in the UK and across Europe

The tournament, due to be hosted in the Gulf state for the first time in the competition's 92-year history, has already attracted criticism from across the world over Qatar's murky human rights record and stance on LGBT+ issues. Mr Beckham has pocketed an undisclosed sum for being an official ambassador for the Qatar World Cup

The tournament, due to be hosted in the Gulf state for the first time in the competition’s 92-year history, has already attracted criticism from across the world over Qatar’s murky human rights record and stance on LGBT+ issues. Mr Beckham has pocketed an undisclosed sum for being an official ambassador for the Qatar World Cup

He thinks that the anti-LGBT stance of Qatar should have prevented FIFA from holding the World Cup there. Pictured: The stadium

He thinks that the anti-LGBT stance of Qatar should have prevented FIFA from holding the World Cup there. Pictured: The stadium 

A spokesperson for FIFA said: ‘FIFA is fully aware that climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time and believes it requires each of us to take immediate and sustainable climate action.

‘FIFA is also fully aware of the impacts that mega-events have on the economy, the natural environment and on people and communities, and has been making substantial efforts to tackle those impacts and, at the same time, to use opportunities to maximise the positive effects of its most iconic tournament.


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