The countdown is on until kick-off for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Before you fly off for this fiesta of football, take some time to get to know Qatar so you know what to expect when you touch down.
Know the local laws
There are some big differences between laws in Australia and Qatar. Some laws and penalties may seem harsh compared to Australian standards.
Alcohol and drugs
- The legal drinking age in Qatar is 21.
- It’s illegal to drink alcohol or be drunk in public places. There’ll be designated areas for fans to drink in before game time.
- Don’t pack alcohol or purchase it from duty-free, it’s illegal to bring it into Qatar.
- Penalties for drug offences include long jail terms. You could be charged with possession if you test positive for illegal drugs in your system.
- Some medications that are legal in Australia may be illegal in Qatar. Check with an embassy or consulate of Qatar that your medication is legal before bringing it with you.
- It’s illegal to be affectionate in public and to have sex outside marriage.
- Don’t photograph government buildings, military sites or local people, especially women.
- If you’re with the media, you’ll need specific visas and permissions to use photography and videography.
If you’re detained or arrested, ask police or prison officials to tell the Australian Embassy in Doha.
The Australian Government is limited in how and when we can help if you’re arrested or detained. We can't get you out of trouble, out of jail, or pay your legal bills or fines for you. Read the Consular Services Charter to understand how we can and can’t help.
If you’re the victim of a crime, call the Australian Embassy immediately.
Know the local customs
Qatar is a mainly Muslim country. The customs and traditions found in Qatar can be different to those in Australia. Some customs to keep in mind:
- Make sure your clothing covers your shoulders and knees – both men and women. Don’t take your shirt off when inside the World Cup stadiums.
- Football matches can get a bit heated and fiery banter is part of the fun. But be mindful that such exchanges might not be accepted everywhere. Practice good sportsmanship. Speak respectfully, be mindful of your gestures and avoid shouting or yelling.
- Fans are like one big team themselves, but once you leave the stadium try to keep your gatherings small. Avoid demonstrations and large crowds.
- ‘Football isn’t a game, nor a sport; it’s a religion’. Maradona might be right but try to avoid discussing religion during the Cup and don’t bring religious materials into the country.
There are many other customs and traditions in Qatar. It’s a great idea to do additional research so you’re well prepared before the Cup kick-off.
Stadium Code of Conduct
Qatar have developed a code of conduct for fans attending games at the stadiums. The code includes what you can and can’t take into the stadium, including food and drink items. It also has information about expected behaviour during the games.
Make sure you read the code before you head in to watch the game.
If you need help
Contact the Australian Embassy in Doha if you need help while you’re away.
Majlis Al Taawon Street
Phone: (+974) 4007 8500
If you have significant concerns for your welfare, or that of another Australian, contact the Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305.