An infographic purportedly issued by the organising committee of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar advising fans to “respect the religion and culture of Qatari people” by refraining from drinking alcohol, playing loud music and sounds, among other things, has taken the internet by storm. Several users have shared the infographic claiming it to be the rules Qatar has set for football fans, ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup that starts on November 20.
In addition to drinking and playing loud music, the infographic also advises fans to desists from immodesty, profanity, disrespecting places of worship and homosexuality. The infographic has attracted a lot of criticism for the World Cup, which has been mired in controversy ever since the hosting rights were granted to Qatar in 2010, the first time the FIFA tournament has been held in a Middle East country. Highlighting the allegations of bribery to the violation of human rights, there have been widespread calls for boycotting the tournament.
Newschecker first looked at the infographic and found that there was no mention of the World Cup, which raised doubts on whether it was an official order or linked to the upcoming World Cup. We could not find an official list of rules from the tournament’s website, however, when we ran a keyword search for “2022 world cup Qatar official rules”, we were led to this news report from Al Arabiya.
The report lists out Covid-19 rules, under which anyone planning to watch a match at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will need a negative Covid-19 test, vaccinated or not, to enter the country.
Under social rules, the article stated that it was legal to consume licensed beverages if you are over the age of 21 in Qatar, while fans can expect to be able to purchase alcohol in “licensed bars or restaurants”. “The government has also recently announced the relaxation of some of their restrictions on the purchase of licensed beverages for the duration of the World Cup, with beer being made available to fans after 6.30pm in fan zones and before and after matches in the eight stadium compounds,” read the report.
The article also said that while smoking cigarettes is legal in Qatar, it is prohibited in all public spaces including museums, sports clubs, shopping malls and restaurants. Violators can be subject to fines. Fans have been advised to dress “modestly,” with shoulders covered, the report said, referring to the Qatar Tourism Authority.
Further research led us to a tweet, from the official account for Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 delivery and legacy organisation, which categorically debunks this infographic. The statement, from the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, said that the tournament organisers and FIFA will be shortly issuing an extensive fan guide that “disputes a lot of information being circulated”. “Tournament organisers have been clear since the outset that everyone is welcome to visit Qatar and enjoy the FIFA World Cup 2022,” the statement read.
A careful analysis of the viral infographic also revealed a logo on the top-left corner, with the tagline “Reflect Your Respect”. We conducted another keyword search using this as a clue, which led us to this tweet by handle ‘Show Your Respect’, that shared the infographic first, on October 1. “We contribute to the consolidation of Islamic values which supports the Qatari identity,” the bio of the handle reads.
We further came across this news report on a Qatari citizens group, dated May 20, 2014, which was titled “Local modesty campaign ‘reflect your respect’ to relaunch in Qatar”.
A grassroots campaign to encourage men and women to dress more modestly in public places in Qatar will be relaunched next month under a new name, the campaign’s organisers had told Doha News then. This confirmed that the viral infographic was issued by a citizens group to remind foreigners to “respect” Qatari culture and was not an official advisory by the Qatari government or the FIFA for world cup fans who are to visit Qatar.
Viral poster of “rules” to be followed by fans during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar is not the official one issued by the tournament’s organisers or the Qatari government. The infographic was issued by a citizens group.
Tweet by official account for Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022, October 6, 2022
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