Qatar to send drunken fans to sobering-up areas during World Cup

Qatar's World Cup chief Nasser Al Khater said Thursday there will be special zones at the tournament for drunken football supporters to sober up.

The sale of alcohol in Qatar will move from hotel bars to fan zones and outside stadiums during the World Cup, which runs from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18. Qatar is a predominantly Muslim country where public drinking is restricted, and it has decided to control public drunkenness by ensuring there is an alternative to arrests or jail time.

"There are plans in place for people to sober up if they've been drinking excessively," Al Khater, who is chief executive of the supreme committee, told Sky News. "It's a place to make sure that they keep themselves safe, they're not harmful to anybody else."

It has been reported that fans who end up in a so-called "sobering tent" will remain there until they are sufficiently clearheaded to be released with a warning.

On the topic of anti-LGBTQIA+ laws within Qatar, Al Khater insisted gay fans can hold hands and said that nobody would be discriminated against in this respect. In Qatar, same-sex partnerships are not recognized and in some cases punishable by law.

"All we ask is for people to be respectful of the culture," Al Khater said. "At the end of the day, as long as you don't do anything that harms other people, if you're not destroying public property, as long as you're behaving in a way that's not harmful, then everybody's welcome and you have nothing to worry about."