What fans can't do in Qatar

Dhow sailing boats seen at the Corniche Waterfront Promenade with The West Bay skyline in the background on November 17, 2022 in Doha.

(CNN)After years of anticipation -- and controversy -- since Qatar was awarded the World Cup, the tournament finally got underway on Sunday in Doha.

Even before a ball was kicked, some sore spots arose. Despite years of planning, just two days before the tournament kicked off, Qatar announced a ban of alcoholic beer at the eight stadiums hosting the World Cup in a surprise volte-face.
Now, fans traveling to the country might be wondering where they stand with the rest of the host country's local laws and customs.


      The sale and consumption of alcohol has been a highly contentious issue since Qatar was first announced as the World Cup host 12 years ago.
        The Muslim country is considered to be very conservative and tightly regulates alcohol sales and consumption.
        In Qatar, it's illegal to be seen drunk in public and those who violate this could face legal consequences. According to UK government advice on traveling to Qatar, drinking in a public place could "result in a prison sentence of up to six months and/or a fine up to 3,000 Qatar Rial ($824)."
          In September, Qatar had said it would permit ticketed fans to buy alcoholic beer at World Cup soccer matches starting three hours before kick-off and for one hour after the final whistle, but not during the match.
          Then two days before the first match, soccer's world governing body FIFA confirmed that no alcohol would be sold at the eight stadiums which will host the tournament's 64 matches.
          Alcohol will only be served in designated fan parks and other licensed venues around Doha, FIFA said in a statement.
          "There will be [...] over 200 places where you can buy alcohol in Qatar and over 10 fan zones, where over 100,000 people can simultaneously drink alcohol," said FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Saturday.
          "I think personally, if for three hours a day you cannot drink a beer, you will survive.
          "Especially because actually the same rules apply in France or in Spain or in Portugal or in Scotland, where no beer is allowed in stadiums now," he added.
          FIFA President Gianni Infantino attends a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha on November 19, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament.
          Still, some fans will be able to consume alcohol at matches -- at a price. Supporters can purchase a Match Hospitality package, with prices ranging from $950 to $4,950 per match, for varying services and including alcohol.
          A spokeswoman for Match Hospitality told CNN Sport that their packages are not impacted by FIFA's policy change.
          Nonetheless, alcohol is available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system, according to UK government advice.

          PDA, sex and sexual orientation

          Sex outside of marriage is illegal in Qatar, and intimacy in public between men and women can result in arrest.
          Sex between men is also illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison in the country, and a report from Human Rights Watch, published last month, documented cases as recently as September of Qatari security forces arbitrarily arresting LGBT people and subjecting them to "ill-treatment in detention."
          A Qatar government official recently told CNN in a statement that the World Cup host was an inclusive country.
          "Everyone is welcome in Qatar," the statement read, adding: "Our track record has shown that we have warmly welcomed all people regardless of background."
          And to ensure discrimination of any kind did not happen, measures were being implemented such as human rights training sessions with public and private security forces, and the enacting of legal provisions for the protection of everyone, according to FIFA.