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Qatar 2022: A bite-sized guide

Earlier today we published a VERY long Twitter thread on Qatar, following a visit by our England and Wales Fans’ Embassy teams to the host nation of the 2022 World Cup – see @WeAreTheFSA 

However, not everyone uses Twitter and we were asked to reproduce this information on the FSA website – your wish is our command. Please see the below bite-sized Guide to Qatar. We’ll produce a free and far more comprehensive guide for fans ahead of the tournament as further detail emerges. 

Quicklinks:

ACCOMMODATION 

Splitting bookings (i.e. moving from hotel to hotel) may reduce costs, rather than staying in 1 place. More hotels in Oct as FIFA releases bookings. Things STILL being built, more rooms to come. Post-group stage 16 teams go home = more rooms. Book rooms here. (Back to top)

ALCOHOL (AVAILABILITY)

Do not take alcohol into Qatar or drink in the streets. You might be sent home and/or arrested. Unless resident you will only be able to buy alcohol in authorised hotels/bars, 2 specific fan zones & external stadium concourses (more on that below). (Back to top)

ALCOHOL (PRICING)

£12-15 per beer with some happy hour reductions (5pm to 7pm-ish) where you’ll pay approx £7. Hotels told us multi-drink/meal offers may be introduced to lower costs. There’s ONE “off-licence” in Qatar but it’s strictly licenced and only available to residents. (Back to top)

BROADCAST RIGHTS

Big concerns. Many Qatari hotels & smaller establishments are choosing NOT to broadcast WC games in bar areas as beIN subscriptions cost too much! We were already worried about having enough places to watch games & now there are fewer. Hotel rooms/apartments same problem. (Back to top)

COVID RULES (ENTRY)

Unlike European travel, proof of vaccination is not enough. A PCR test (within the preceding 48hrs) or Rapid Antigen Test (24hrs) is currently required. They are v.strict on 24/48hr timelines. If your PCR is, say, 51hrs old it can be rejected (as we found out). (Back to top)

COVID RULES (IN QATAR)

The EHTERAZ app is “compulsory” in Qatar, says Foreign Office. Download the (state owned) app and then it links to the info you provide to be able to fly in. We used the NHS app in places to access hotels, bars, metro. But no guarantees NHS app accepted. (Back to top)

CRIME & CUSTOMS

In general you can wear what you want within reason but be respectful of religious sites and Government buildings. In our detailed guidebook we’ll have more in relation to local customs and law. Qatar is a very safe place with minimal crime. (Back to top)

DISABLED ACCESS

Stadiums and metro good for all. More concerns for ambulant disabled. But we have a made number of recommendations for access close to stadiums. Hope to have more info for full guide. Contact us with any queries. (Back to top)

DRUGS

Do not even think about taking drugs into or possessing drugs in Qatar. If you get offered something in a bar, the person could be an undercover police officer. Possession is not just a slap on the wrist & even residual or small amounts can result in very lengthy prison sentences. (Back to top)

FOOD & RESTAURANTS 

Restaurants are dry (unless in licensed hotels). Carrefour supermarkets. Lots of Pizza Hut, Nandos, McD, Burger King and local outlets. Similar pricing to England. Most Qataris drive to air-conditioned shopping malls so often indoor facilities. (Back to top)

FAN ZONES

Al Bidda Park fan zone has alcohol licence but only 6.30pm-1am, 40k capacity. Giant screens & family friendly. Opens early if game on. Arcadia has DJs & open 10am-5am serving alcohol but ticketed. £75+ per day, 15k. Do not expect small, craft breweries – FIFA-sponsor products. (Back to top)

LGBT+

Understandable fan concerns ahead of WC. Both gay and/or straight public displays of affection in Qatar not the norm. Qataris won’t say anything other than “all welcome”. Hope for more info ahead of WC and will share anything we know. (Back to top)

STADIUMS

The stadiums are all brand new/fairly new and all seater. Expect an initial ticket check on the perimeter leading to fan zone compound (FIFA partners & alcohol sold here 3hrs ahead of game). No alcohol in stadiums. 0% beer. More stadium info in our guidebook. (Back to top)

TEMPERATURES

Nov/Dec sees temperatures in Qatar drop – but you can still expect highs of 30°C mid-Nov. Into Dec it could be as cool as 16-17°C or as hot as 24-25°C. It does occasionally rain – weather info here. (Back to top)

TRANSPORT (OUTSIDE QATAR)

Prepare for queues on the border. Lots of people arriving and the airport is not used to that volume. Airport big and shiny but it’s built as a transit hub – the majority of travellers are passing through. Unknown how this will be handled. (Back to top)

TRANSPORT (INSIDE QATAR)

Transport around Doha – lots of free transport options on matchday to get to/from stadium, we would still advise leaving significant amounts of time ahead of the match. Our guidebook will offer lots more detailed info. (Back to top)

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Make sure you’ve got it. Healthcare in Qatar is expensive. If you plan to go flying around the desert on a sand buggy make sure your insurance covers that as higher risk sports or recreations may not be covered by standard insurance. (Back to top)

AND FINALLY…

Free Lions & FSA Cymru in Qatar with 24hr number & pre/post matchday presence. Wifi freely available but recommend people buy local SIM / local data. You can expect a very friendly welcome but this will be a very different tournament. Local laws & customs are to be respected. (Back to top)

Original tweet:

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