World Cup with out booze makes for ‘totally different’ environment


World Cup followers in Qatar say the environment is totally different with out alcohol — however they’re divided over whether or not that’s good or not.

Some say the absence of booze in stadiums and its restricted availability elsewhere within the Arab nation has detracted from the environment inside and outdoors stadiums.

Others say it has made no distinction and even improved it, making it extra family-friendly and fewer aggressive, and need it replicated at future World Cups.

The sale of alcohol at World Cup stadiums in Qatar was banned two days earlier than the event in a coverage U-turn, though it’s accessible at fan zones and most worldwide motels.

“It has brought some positivity to the World Cup,” mentioned Ghana fan Assenso Ata Peter forward of the Black Stars’ tournament-ending defeat to Uruguay on Friday.

“The conduct of the supporters has been so very good, so nice because they are not drinking alcohol,” added the 40-year-old.

“If we continue with this, the tournament can continue to be successful every time.”

Mike and Luke, in Qatar to observe Australia’s shock run into the knockout stage, had been clutching water and mushy drinks as they caught the sport between South Korea and Portugal at Education City Stadium.

“It’s hard, it’s hard (without alcohol), it definitely takes the edge off the atmosphere, it’s not as… it’s different,” mentioned Luke, 39.

“It’s more like a family atmosphere as opposed to a party atmosphere — you’ve got families, kids, they’re the ones that are doing the cheering,” added 36-year-old Mike.

Kang Yong-ki, who was on the identical recreation, mentioned no alcohol was allowed at matches at home so he might reside with out it.

“I suspect some of the atmosphere would be higher (more intense) if alcohol existed but generally it’s not very different with alcohol or not,” mentioned the 45-year-old from Seoul.

“But of course it’s good for families,” he added.

For the vast majority of women and men supporters AFP spoke to, they mentioned it made no distinction to them, both as a result of they don’t drink alcohol or it’s by no means allowed at soccer of their nation anyway.

And matches significantly involving groups from South America and North Africa have nonetheless performed out in entrance of electrical atmospheres.

“I really don’t care, I’m just here to watch Cristiano Ronaldo,” mentioned “Amanda” from Lebanon, who most popular to not give her actual identify.

“I don’t know why the world is making such a big deal of it.”

– ‘Most various event’ –

England followers have lengthy been related to alcohol-fuelled dysfunction and the ultimate of the European Championship at Wembley in the summertime of 2021 between the home facet and Italy was marred by hooliganism.

There was heavy ingesting, and likewise drug-taking, amongst some England supporters.

Kevin Fulcher and Kevin Hall, who’ve travelled throughout the globe to observe England, mentioned they’d no drawback with the shortage of alcohol.

“I think in some ways, when people have had a drink, the edges can get a bit blurred and it might create issues among football fans,” mentioned Hall, 63.

“Whereas if you’re sober, you’re less inclined to have confrontation.

“We’ve not seen any confrontation by any means — you are all mixing popping out of the bottom.

“We’ve been to other tournaments and I think this one is more diverse than any other in terms of youngsters.”

Fulcher added: “You see families, kids, I’ve seen babies in stadiums.”

They couldn’t pinpoint the rationale for that however mentioned it was not essentially right down to the shortage of alcohol.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, head of Britain’s soccer policing, known as the behaviour of England and Wales followers in Qatar “exemplary” and mentioned there had been no arrests or incidents amongst these supporters.

He mentioned that the environment at video games involving England and Wales had been “passionate but friendly”.

“It would be wrong to entirely attribute good behaviour to the restrictions on alcohol, but I do think it has helped to some degree,” he mentioned in feedback to AFP.