No Dating: 11 Crazy Rules For Fans Attending 2022 Qatar World Cup

The Middle Eastern country will no doubt be kept busy as millions of fans around the world stream in to watch the biggest tournament in world football live across a total of 8 stadiums to host the 64 games.

No Dating: 11 Crazy Rules For Fans Attending 2022 Qatar World Cup
Fans take photos of the official logo of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. /FILE

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is less than 44 days away, with the tournament set to begin on Sunday, November 20, and last for a whole month until Sunday, December 18.

The Middle Eastern country will no doubt be kept busy as millions of fans around the world stream in to watch the biggest tournament in world football live across a total of 8 stadiums to host the 64 games.

However, amidst the exciting fanfare that comes with the global showpiece, Qatar is a country with its own set of rules governing it and as such, it has set tough rules for visiting fans ahead of the start of the tournament.

The official ball for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. /AL JAZEERA

One of the rules that was dropped is the mandatory coronavirus vaccinations, but players and match officials may be forced into a secure "bio-bubble" if COVID-19 cases take off again, with the threat of expulsion from the tournament for those who breach the secure environment.

The 29-day tournament will be the first major global sporting event with fans since the eruption in December 2019 of the pandemic, which has since killed more than six million people. Organisers have expressed that they want the tournament to be a sign that the world has moved on from the pandemic.

Viral Tea takes a look at other rules fans attending the tournament should follow:


Despite common misconceptions, it is legal to consume alcohol if you are over the age of 21 in Qatar. Fans can therefore expect to be able to purchase alcohol in “licensed bars or restaurants”.

The state recently announced the relaxation of some of their restrictions on the purchase of alcohol for the duration of the World Cup, with beer being made available to fans after 6.30 pm in fan zones and before and after matches in the eight stadium compounds.

However, alcoholic drinks will not be available during the games themselves inside stadiums. That means there will be no drinking in public compared to what was witnessed in the 2018 tournament in Russia.

It is the same case with private consumption resulting in intoxication or the “disturbing” of other people, all of which is punishable by up to three years imprisonment and heavy fines.


Qatar has not relaxed any description of their drugs policy, with any fans attempting to smuggle illegal drugs into the country expected to face serious consequences.

The death penalty is permitted by law for this offence. The use of such an extreme punishment is unlikely; far more probable is a heavy jail sentence, deportation or massive fine.


Fans have been advised to dress “modestly”, with shoulders covered and avoiding short skirts.

Shorts or sleeveless tops are not recommended, with entry to some government buildings likely to be denied if found to be shy of modesty standards, according to the Qatar Tourism Authority.

A woman at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. /FILE


Whilst smoking cigarettes is legal in Qatar, it is prohibited in all public spaces including museums, sports clubs, shopping malls and restaurants. Violators can be subject to fines of up to Qatari Rial QAR 3,000 (about Ksh99,574.28)

The importation, purchase and use of e-cigarettes has been outlawed in Qatar since 2014, with offenders punishable by up to three months imprisonment and a fine of QAR 10,000 (around Ksh331,914.28).


Fans travelling with medications are advised to contact the Qatari embassy, as many legal prescription drugs in the UK are banned in the Gulf state. This includes anti-depressants, like Xanax or Valium.

Such drugs can carry the same severe penalties as other illegal substances. In some cases, those travelling with medications will need a detailed “doctor's report” explaining the need for the medication, which is no more than 6 months old.

All visitors to Qatar are also required to have health insurance and fans should expect good quality healthcare should it be required.


Qatar is known for strict laws against homosexuality and members of the LGBTQI+ community. Anybody found guilty of “leading, instigating or seducing a male by in any way to commit sodomy” can legally face the death penalty, but more likely is a jail sentence or deportation.

LGBTQI+ travellers will be required to consult with the Department of State Travel Advisory for Qatar to get more information.

Swearing and Profanity

Previous World Cups and other football tournaments have been criticised for failing to handle poor fan behaviour, with Qatar keen to avoid a repeat of such cases by enforcing their strict policies on obscenity.

Swearing and lewd gestures are covered under this section of Qatari law, with deportation or imprisonment likely punishments for these crimes.

Respect To Places Of Worship

Protests, assemblies of large groups, advocacy of atheism, or speech critical of the government of Qatar or the Islam religion are illegal in Qatar, as they could lead to criminal prosecution.

Non-Muslims usually have their designated areas like the Doha Religious Complex but not all faiths are accommodated equally.


Among the rules that have raised more eyebrows is Qatar's directive against sexual intercourse outside marriage; in other terms, this is a crime. This could be one of the biggest deterrents for men attending a grand tournament proven to attract beautiful women, as has been the case in previous World Cup tournaments.

Fans who will be travelling to Qatar as a pair and are not married will be forced to abstain from any intimate activity until they leave the country following the conclusion of this year's World Cup. Yes, no girlfriends as well in the Gulf country.

Any form of public intimacy, such as kissing, whether heterosexual or homosexual, can lead to arrest in Qatar, according to some reports. Fans are also advised against shaking hands with Qatari women; a gesture that can be interpreted as disrespectful.

Other rules include fans applying for Hayya cards in the event they enter the country after Tuesday, November 1. It is a personalized document issued and reportedly required by everyone attending the FIFA World Cup matches.

The card grants them access to the country, purchasing of tickets, booking of accommodation as well as free public transport access in Qatar, including the metro and bus, among others. Fans should keep this card at all times.

Journalists and independent content creators will be required to have specific visas and permissions to use photography and videography equipment or to conduct interviews within Qatar.

Citizen TV's Mukami Wambora at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. /TWITTER.MUKAMI WAMBORA