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Welsh fans’ World Cup party cancelled after Qatar ‘imposes’ alcohol restrictions

24 Nov 2022 3 minute read
Wales fans in the stands during the FIFA World Cup Group B match at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Al-Rayyan. Picture by Nick Potts / PA Wire

A World Cup party for Wales fans has been cancelled after Qatari authorities “imposed” changes to restrict alcohol sales, organisers said.

Fan charity Gol Cymru was looking to build on the success of its parties held either side of Wales’ opening World Cup game against the USA with a second round of events for Friday’s fixture with Iran.

But they said they were told at the last minute of new conditions preventing alcohol sales before 12pm, leading to them cancelling their pre-match event at the InterContinental Doha hotel, in the West Bay area of the city.

The Wales Football Supporters’ Association’s fan embassy later noted Friday is a holy day and “no alcohol before midday” is allowed.

Wales’ crunch group B fixture against Iran kicks off at 1pm Qatari time, 10am in the UK, at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.

The sale of alcohol to fans at World Cup stadiums in Qatar was banned two days before the tournament kicked off – with an exception made for corporate spectators.

The UK Foreign Office said it is an offence to drink alcohol or be drunk in public, with alcohol available at designated places including hotels.

Gol Cymru fundraiser and organiser Leigh James told fans in an email: “The hotel have been in discussions with the Qatari authorities overnight and unfortunately, as it is with Qatar, a change has been imposed and we can now no longer serve alcohol before midday Friday.

“Therefore we have had to take the decision to cancel the pre-match event and offer you two options.”

These include attending a post-match party on Friday, or a pre-match party on November 29 before the final group B game with England.

Mr James added: “Once again on behalf of the hotel I apologise, however I have learnt that in Qatar to always expect the unexpected.”

He went on: “Please understand this is Qatar and many things are totally out of my control, I am frustrated as the next person when they make last-minute decisions.”

‘Disappointing’

Paul Corkrey, from the Wales Football Supporters’ Association (FSA), said the pre-match party was a “great place” for people to congregate ahead of the 1-1 draw with the USA on Monday and fans were “pretty sensible” travelling to the game.

He said it was “disappointing” to hear the changes imposed on Friday’s pre-match event, telling the PA news agency: “There’s one thing about it – they are consistent, they consistently change the rules.

“There’s not a lot we can do, really, just say that we’re disappointed really.

“A lot of fans are by themselves, in ones or twos, and they go to these things for company and be with their friends or to meet new people.”

Mr Corkrey said fans are “having a great time everywhere else”, adding on the Qatari authorities: “It’s such a shame as the facilities, the place, the weather, the fact you can see three or four games in a day is positive.

“But they keep doing negative things now and then.”


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Mike Flynn
Mike Flynn
6 days ago

Qatar is a backward looking non democratic state that Drakeford is wooing because they have lots of money and he doesn’t care where it comes from.

A little man with no ethics.

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 days ago
Reply to  Mike Flynn

Spot on Mike. People who should know better have elevated him onto a pedestal just cos he has disagreements with the London Tory regime. On close examination they would find that he’s very much on the same page as them especially when it comes to a deficit of principles. Or is he on a “learning mission” with the intention of transplanting some of the Qatari islamofascist rules to Wales to curb the drunken slobs at rugby events? That should produce some heat in Cardiff on match days!

George Atkinson
George Atkinson
6 days ago
Reply to  Mike Flynn

Stick to the Walesonline comments sections, they are more your type of people. A bunch of right wing pensioners crying all day online about how evil Wales because no-one in the real world wants to deal with them.

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
6 days ago

Indeed. Those commenters blame everything on “Dripford” and “The WAG”.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
5 days ago
Reply to  Nobby Tart

Not forgetting the “Welsh Assembly”…

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
6 days ago

This world cup really is harrowing! Has there ever been such an unwelcoming “host” as Qatar?
Roughing up journalists, stealing hats from supporters, agreeing the prevent hospitality for visitors then unilaterally removing said hospitality and blaming not only the visitors but the nations they come from.
Not to mention the horrific human rights abuses of course.

George Atkinson
George Atkinson
6 days ago

The thing is, Gol Cymru do these events for local charities where they collect money from the Red Wall and give it to a local orphange and the Qatari dictatorship put a stop to it because they yet again moved the goalposts in the last minute. All these promises from them have turned out to be lies.

Michael
Michael
6 days ago

Seems like it was a challenge in many levels for Welsh people being there.
But we all know that government has no regard for human rights and equality. If course they would change the rules & make up excuses.
I just get the impression from reading reports over the last few days, that people expected it to be like any other country. But that’s unrealistic.

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