Qatar: Why girls really feel safer at World Cup 2022

Qatar: Why girls really feel safer at World Cup 2022
Qatar: Why girls really feel safer at World Cup 2022
No alcohol is on sale contained in the World Cup stadiums

“For me as a lady by myself, it feels safer with out alcohol within the stadiums. I simply do not prefer it when everyone seems to be drunk.”

Bete Basica has travelled from Sao Paulo to Qatar to assist Brazil on the World Cup. She’s come to Souq Waqif – the central market in Doha – to purchase some souvenirs earlier than she heads dwelling.

An enormous soccer fan, Ms Basica writes concerning the recreation and has just lately taken a soccer administration course. She has travelled on her personal for the event, and fondly remembers the “magical” time in her dwelling nation throughout the 2014 World Cup it hosted.

Chatting with the BBC, Ms Basica says the expertise may be very totally different in Qatar.

“Typically I am the one lady within the metro,” she says. “I get many ‘seems’ – however that is it.

“You learn many issues about [the region], that it’s extremely harmful for girls. However I really feel revered by everybody and I had no downside being right here by myself.”

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The choice to carry a World Cup in Qatar has been controversial, with critics pointing to the nation’s human rights report and therapy of migrant employees used to construct a complete event infrastructure.

Feminine employees spoke to the Guardianexternal-link concerning the harassment they’ve skilled within the hospitality trade, and a Qatari lady who lives within the UK informed the BBC concerning the impression of spiritual conservatism on her psychological well being.

{The marketplace} of Souq Waqif has grow to be World Cup fan-central. Whereas it has all the time been the buzzing a part of usually quiet Doha, the vibe is totally different now. For one, it is rather more crowded; the supporters and flags of the groups taking part in on any given day have tended to take over.

The eating places are busy and the odor of shisha (hookah) mixes with that of chargrilled meat. However one factor you will not discover right here is alcohol. Its sale is strictly restricted and managed right here in Qatar – a conservative, Muslim nation.

Souq Waqif
The consumption of alcohol can also be banned in places resembling Souq Waqif, a Qatar market

Simply two days earlier than the opening ceremony, it was introduced that alcohol wouldn’t be offered to followers contained in the stadiums, although there are particular areas in fan zones the place you’ll be able to drink.

Argentina fan Karen Retamal says, regardless of the restricted entry, she and her associates have been capable of get a drink every single day since they have been right here – however she does want the dry stadiums, particularly for her group.

“We’re from Argentina. We reside soccer,” she laughs. “And once we lose, I do want that there is no alcohol.”

Ms Retamal remembers how annoyed and offended followers have been when Argentina misplaced to Saudi Arabia of their opening group match.

“When the sport completed, they [Saudi fans] saved coming to us and saying: ‘The place is Messi? The place is Messi?’ We have been actually unhappy and offended,” she stated.

Ms Retamal believes that had these feelings been exacerbated by alcohol, the scenario may have been very tense.

Nevertheless, she says she has typically felt comfy transferring round between venues throughout the event.

Karen Retamal
Karen Retamal says she and her associates have been capable of purchase drinks

It’s a distinction to how the showpiece match of the final main males’s soccer occasion performed out.

The Euro 2020 ultimate was held at Wembley, and the dysfunction exterior the stadium was broadcast all over the world. Followers who skilled it informed the BBC how unsafe they felt, and a evaluate described it as a “nationwide day of disgrace” for England.

In an try and keep away from clashes between followers and native legislation enforcement, plenty of British law enforcement officials have been deployed to Qatar to act as “cultural interpreters” between followers and legislation enforcement, whereas Turkey and Pakistan additionally supplied their very own safety.

From the beginning, this has been billed as a family-friendly event. That’s evident at matches; dad and mom with youngsters of all ages might be seen with flags of their palms, with some in tears if their staff loses. Many have stated the dearth of alcohol within the stadiums has contributed to the child-friendly environment.

Japan fans at a match in Qatar
The sale of alcohol is strictly restricted and managed in Qatar together with in stadiums

Jolanta Bhandu is Polish and has watched her staff’s video games along with her husband Hamlesh and two youngsters, Ben and Maya.

“We want the dearth of alcohol, particularly once we go to the stadium with the kids,” she says. More often than not, her staff’s crowd is the minority, “so we might want to have sober individuals on the stadium”, she laughs.

The Bhandu family
The Bhandu household have come to cheer on Poland

Francesca Ramsey, from Malta, has travelled along with her husband.

“We love sports activities occasions,” says Ms Ramsey, who additionally went to the 2014 event in Brazil.

“It’s totally totally different. Right here, I really feel the necessity to cowl up extra, however I haven’t got an issue with that. I respect the tradition.”

Ms Ramsey appears a bit disillusioned by the restricted entry to alcohol right here.

“I wish to have a glass of white wine – probably two or three,” she laughs, earlier than including that you just do see higher behaviour within the stadiums.

“We’re used to a drink. I might’ve appreciated a glass of wine on the stadium. It is a time while you wish to shout, scream and have a drink.”

The last-minute alcohol ban raised questions concerning the decision-making of soccer’s world governing physique Fifa, and its sway – or lack of – over the host nation.

However for the native inhabitants, it was seen because the nation’s management staying true to Muslim guidelines and norms that the overwhelming majority of individuals in Qatar abide by – and the ban could have made the World Cup extra accessible for a lot of locals, who most likely would have opted out in any other case.

Regardless of the crowds, some followers have chosen to remain away, with the choice to stage the World Cup in a rustic the place homosexuality is prohibited closely criticised. A transgender Qatari lady informed BBC Information concerning the worry she lives in, whereas Amnesty has stated girls in Qatar face discrimination in legislation and apply,external-link with them needing a guardian’s permission for “key life choices”.

One of the vital noticeable issues right here has been the variety of native girls, particularly younger ones, within the stadiums – be it Qatari girls or residents who’ve lived right here most of their lives.

Salma Ahmed says one of many causes she and her relations have felt comfy to go is the actual fact there is no such thing as a alcohol.

“I wasn’t fascinated about going to the stadiums earlier than – however after the ban, I truly wished to go,” she says.

“I am an enormous fan of soccer, so it has been an awesome expertise.”

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