Football fans warned they could be jailed for 7 years for breaking this law at Qatar World Cup

THE World Cup is set to take place in Qatar this year.

Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 11:02 am

Thousands of England fans are set to travel to the middle east later this year for the competition.

The tournament will take place between November 21 and December 18, with England's first game scheduled on the opening day of the event.

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Here are nine laws all tourists need to know before travelling to Qatar ahead of the World Cup (Photo by Qatar 2022/Supreme Committee via Getty Images)

With less than six months to go until kick-off, many fans are questioning what the do’s and don'ts are when in Qatar ahead of the World Cup.

But what do tourists need to know before they travel to Qatar?

Here's everything you need to know:

Keep a valid photo ID close by at all times

In Qatar, you should keep a valid photo ID with you at all times to prove your identity.

Sexual relations

Having a one-night stand in Qatar could land you in jail for up to 7 years.

It is illegal to have sexual relations outside marriage in the country.

Same sex relations are also illegal in Qatar.

Zero-tolerance for drugs

There is a zero-tolerance for drug-related offences in Qatar.

According to the gov.uk website, the penalties for the use of, trafficking, smuggling, and possession of drugs (even residual amounts) are severe.

Punishments can include heavy fines, deportation, or lengthy custodial sentences.

Some prescribed and over-the-counter medicines may be controlled substances in Qatar.

If you need to bring controlled/prescription medication with you on your trip, ensure you carry your official doctor's prescription hospital note or a letter from your GP, detailing the drug, the quantity prescribed and dosage.

The note should also be signed by your doctor/consultant and stamped by the hospital or surgery.

Strict alcohol laws

It is an offence to drink alcohol or to be drunk in public whilst in Qatar.

In the past, British nationals have been detained under this law, usually when they have come to the attention of the authorities.

For example, drinking in a public place could result in a prison sentence of up to six months and/or a fine of up to QAR3,000.

Alcoholic beverages are only available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars.

Tourists must not carry alcohol around unless it is on the day of collection from the warehouse to their home.

The legal drinking age in Qatar is 21 and establishments will ask for an original photo ID upon entry.

Offensive behaviour

Rude gestures or swearing are considered obscene acts in Qatar and offenders may be jailed and/or deported.

Cultural sensitivities when filming/taking pictures

Tourists must be aware of cultural sensitivities when filming or photographing people and religious, military, or construction sites.

If you attempt to take a picture in a sensitive area, you may be arrested.

If in doubt, seek permission.

There are also strict privacy laws in the country and posting material (including videos and photographs) online that appears to slander, insult, or be culturally insensitive may be considered a crime punishable under Qatari law.

Previously, individuals have been detained, prosecuted, and/or convicted for posting this kind of material.

Importation of Goods is illegal

Importing alcohol, pornography, drugs, pork products, and religious books and material into the country is illegal.

All luggage is scanned at Hamad International Airport in the arrivals hall.

Videos and DVDs may also be examined, censored, and confiscated.

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 these items, whether sent by post or if they are in passengers' luggage

Strict dress code

Tourists are advised to dress modestly when in public and while driving in Qatar.

Women should 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 denied entry to these locations.

Laws against public intimacy

Any intimacy in public between men and women (including between teenagers) can lead to arrest in Qatar.

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.

Homosexual behaviour is illegal in Qatar.

Financial crimes can result in imprisonment

Crimes including fraud, bouncing cheques and non-payment of bills can result in imprisonment and/or a fine and deportation in Qatar.

You may also be liable for cheques that you have signed on behalf of a company.

Right to issue an Administrative Deportation order.

If you are found guilty of committing an offence, the State of Qatar reserves the right to issue an Administrative Deportation order, regardless of whether the judgement included deportation.

This can impact employment and may affect the ability to return to Qatar in the future.