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Qatar World Cup 2022: Organisers say controversial infographic is fake

A poster that went viral asks visitors to the World Cup to refrain from drinking alcohol, homosexuality and swearing
Fifa president Gianni Infantino has said 'everyone will see that everyone is welcome here in Qatar, even if we speak about LGBTQ' (Twitter)

The organisers of Qatar's World Cup have issued a statement declaring that an infographic that has been widely circulating on social media, asking visitors to the tournament to refrain from drinking alcohol, homosexuality and swearing, among other actions, was not issued by them and contains incorrect information.

In a statement, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) said the "Qatar Welcomes You" infographic was not from an official source and that "tournament organisers have been clear since the outset that everyone is welcome to visit Qatar and enjoy the Fifa World Cup 2022

"Qatar has always been an open, tolerant, and welcoming nation. International fans and visitors during the Fifa World Cup will get to experience this first-hand," the SC added.

Other actions which the poster advises visitors to refrain from include dating, taking people's pictures without their permission, and playing loud music and sounds.

Marc Owen Jones, an associate professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Hamad bin Khalifa University in Qatar, said the graphic had gathered over 15,000 retweets and 45,000 likes.

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While Qatar is not a "dry" state like neighbouring Saudi Arabia, consuming alcohol in public places is illegal. Alcohol can be bought at a number of licensed hotels and clubs, where a pint of beer can cost $18.

The SC has previously confirmed that alcohol will be served in select areas within stadiums, starting three hours before kick-off and one hour after the final whistle, but not during matches, and at the official Fifa fan zone from 6:30pm to 1am.

Fans will, however, be allowed to consume alcohol from 10am to 5am every day at the Arcadia Spectacular electronic music festival, which will feature an enormous fire-breathing spider at centre stage, The Athletic reported last week. The event, which has a capacity for around 15,000, will host internationally renowned artists and DJs, with World Cup organisers expecting it to draw some 200,000 fans.

'Everyone is welcome here in Qatar'

Male homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, with a punishment of up to three years in prison and a fine and the possibility of the death penalty.

However, there are no known cases in which the death penalty has been enforced for homosexuality in the Gulf nation.

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Amnesty International has said it has "multiple concerns" over Qatar's record on gay rights, adding that women and LGBTQ+ people "continue to face discrimination in law and practice".

Nasser al-Khater, the chief executive of the Qatar World Cup, has previously stated that "any fan of any gender, [sexual] orientation, religion, race should rest assured that Qatar is one of the most safe countries in the world - and they’ll all be welcome here".

Fifa president Gianni Infantino also said earlier this year in Doha that “everyone will see that everyone is welcome here in Qatar, even if we speak about LGBTQ”.

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