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Fans attending England games in Qatar face death penalty if certain offence is committed

Fans attending England games in Qatar potentially face the death penalty if a certain offence is committed during the tournament.

The incredibly strict country makes “no exceptions” for foreigners found to be breaking the law and takes a strong hard line when it comes to drugs.

Around 10,000 Three Lions supporters planning to fly out are being warned they could face “arbitary arrest” if they are caught near others who are doing drugs – even if they don’t possess any upon themselves.

More than 3,000 specialist Turkish officers including 1,000 women are being drafted in by Qatar.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Official Logo Revealed | ExpatWoman.com

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chief Council’s lead for Football Policing, admitted cocaine use is thought to be a “factor” in an increase in bad behaviour at English football matches in recent years.

And he has also sent a warning that British police are working with officers in Qatar to monitor any potential drug-smugglers lining up sales for the World Cup.

He said: “Any fans seen to be misbehaving could also be subject to a football banning order on their return to the UK, as well as being arrested and potentially charged for offences committed in Qatar.”

Radha Stirling, head of Detained in Doha and Due Proc-ess International – an organisation that helps Brits banged up abroad – said: “Visitors are at serious risk of arrest if they partake in drinking or drugs.

“They also face arbitrary arrest if the police cast a wide net and target those in the vicinity of other individuals who are arrested, or if they are falsely accused by other attendees.”

Expatica says: “Authorities make no exceptions and foreign embassies are generally powerless to intercede on their citizens’ behalf when it comes to drug laws in Qatar.”

A report adds that traffickers and supporters could be risking the death penalty, while other punishments include jail and fines up to £44,000.

The FA has also put together a guide warning fans – who will all be members of the England Supporters Travel Club – to stay away from drugs during the competition, which starts on the 21st of November until the 18th of December when the World Cup ends.

A note on its website says: “There is zero tolerance for drugs-related offences.”

Qatar is considered very safe. Crime rates are low and most visits by British travellers are trouble-free.

However, the Foreign Office warns that terrorist attacks can’t be ruled out and tensions may be raised in the region.

It also advises: “Female visitors should take extra care when travelling alone at night. Only use registered taxis. When using apps, check licence plates and confirm with drivers the passenger name. Let someone know you are on the way home and the registration details of the car.”

Advice to those heading to Qatar – GOV.UK

“You must apply for a Hayya Card if you are planning to attend a match at the World Cup.

Hayya Card is a form of Fan ID, which will be required to enter the country and attend matches during the tournament period. It will also provide free public transport access on match days.

If you are travelling to Qatar between the 1st of November 2022 and 23rd of January 2023 you will need to have an approved Hayya Card, regardless of whether you are intending to attend a World Cup match.

You should apply early to avoid delays. At this stage, only match ticket holders can apply. See the Hayya portal website for the latest information.

You should check the FIFA website for ticket information and only purchase match tickets from official providers. Match tickets bought through unofficial means may not be valid.

If you are planning to travel elsewhere in the region during the tournament, you should check the entry requirements for every country you plan to visit or transit through.

These will be different to Qatar, and details can be found on the relevant Travel Advice page.

If you are travelling to Qatar before or after the tournament, different procedures will be in operation. See entry requirements for more information.


You must arrange your accommodation for your stay before you travel to Qatar.

Booking accommodation for the period of the World Cup will be different to the current situation. Qatar’s World Cup Accommodation Agency website will be the main booking platform, but some alternative options are also available.

If you plan to stay in Qatar for more than 24 hours, accommodation validation will be required to complete the Hayya Card application process. You will need an approved Hayya Card to enter the country.

If you plan to stay with friends or family in Qatar during the tournament then your host will need to register your accommodation within the Hayya portal website. This is not yet possible, so continue to monitor the Hayya portal website for the latest information.

Information on day trip requirements has not yet been released. You should continue to monitor the portal website for the latest information.


Ensure you have appropriate travel insurance before travelling to Qatar.

Before travelling to the tournament, you should make sure that you have a travel insurance policy that will cover you for your trip and any planned activities. Emergency medical treatment in Qatar is of a high standard but can be expensive. Routine treatment is available but expensive for visitors.

See Health for more information, including what to do if you need to bring prescription or over-the-counter medication into Qatar.

See Coronavirus for information about Qatar’s current entry restrictions and requirements. These are liable to change with little warning. Monitor Qatari Ministry of Public Health advice for the latest updates ahead of the World Cup, and stay in contact with your travel provider.

Local laws and customs

Familiarise yourself with, and respect, local laws and customs.

Qatari laws and customs are very different to those in the UK. Be aware of your actions to ensure that they don’t offend, especially if you intend to visit religious areas. There may be serious penalties for doing something that might not be illegal in the UK, such as the importation of certain goods. See local laws and customs for more information.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. Private life in Qatar is largely respected but any intimacy between persons in public can lead to offence, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or intent.

Host authorities have stated that “everyone is welcome” at the World Cup. They have publicly confirmed that there will be no restrictions on non-married friends or couples (including LGBT) staying in the same room.

See our LGBT information and advice page before you travel.

Alcohol and drugs

Qatari authorities are still finalising the policies relating to the sale and consumption of alcohol during the World Cup. Its availability, and associated laws, will be different to previous tournaments.

Alcohol is currently only available to visitors at licenced hotel restaurants and bars. The legal drinking age in Qatar is 21. It is an offence to drink alcohol or be drunk in a public place. See local laws and customs for more information.

The importation of alcohol into the State of Qatar is illegal. You will not be able to purchase alcohol from duty free in airports.

Don’t become involved with drugs. You can expect a severe penalty for possession of even residual amounts.

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

Travelling around Qatar

All World Cup stadia are within a compact area, and transport routes are likely to be very busy for the duration of the tournament. Make sure you plan your journeys carefully, particularly on match days.

Hayya Card will give you free access to public transport on match days, including bus, metro and tram.

If you’re planning to hire a car or use taxis, see the Safety and security page for more information. Road discipline is very poor; speeds are high and accidents are common, including involving pedestrians.

If you are planning to travel elsewhere in the region during the tournament, you should check the Travel Advice page for every country you plan to visit or transit through. Entry requirements, and local laws and customs, will likely be different.

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