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The football fan’s guide to Qatar

Thousands of fans from across the globe will descend on Qatar when it hosts the 16th edition of the FIFA Club World Cup™ from 11-21 December 2019.

The tournament will be contested by the champions of each continental confederation, along with the league champions from the host nation. Liverpool (UEFA), Monterrey (CONCOCAF), ES Tunis (CAF), Hienghene Sport (OFC) and Al Sadd (host country) have already confirmed their participation. The AFC and CONMEBOL representatives will be confirmed later this month.

For more about the tournament schedule and ticketing, click here.

Below, we have compiled a list of FAQs for fans preparing to travel to Qatar for the tournament. Further information about the host nation can be found via the following links:

·         Qatar Airways

·         Qatar National Tourism Council

·         Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ organising committee)

·         Workers' Welfare

How can I get to Qatar and how long does it take to get there?

Qatar Airways operates direct flights from a vast range of destinations, including:

Tunis (5h 10m)

Mumbai (4h 5m)

London (6h 45m)

Manchester (6h 55m)

Sydney (15h 5m)

Sao Paulo (15h 15m)

Are any holiday packages available for fans?

Qatar Airways and the National Tourism Council have teamed up to offer a range of packages for fans wishing to travel to Qatar for the FIFA Club World Cup. Click here for more details.

Where should I stay in order to be close to the action?

The beauty of Qatar's compact nature means you will never be far from the action. There are many hotels in the popular West Bay district of Doha. There are many other options, including hotels near Katara Cultural Village and The Pearl-Qatar – a man-made island which features accommodation, shops, restaurants, water sports and many other attractions. Alternative accommodation is also available in Qatar via homestay websites.

Will I be able to drink alcohol in Qatar?

Qatar is not a dry state, and alcohol is available at licensed bars, clubs and hotels. Fans should note that not all hotels are licensed to serve alcohol. During the FIFA Club World Cup, alcohol will also be made available at the fan zone hosted at Doha Golf Club. At this tournament, alcohol will not be served inside stadiums during the matches.

Fans should note that public drunkenness (similar to a 'drunk and disorderly' offence in many countries) and drinking in public is not allowed in Qatar.

What will the weather be like in Qatar in December?

The temperature will be around 20C (68F) throughout the tournament – perfect for fans, players and journalists to enjoy the football and everything Qatar has to offer, from beaches and water sports to cultural sites and al fresco dining. The temperature drops a little in the evenings, so fans are advised to wear a light sweater / jacket when they attend matches.

Is there a dress code in Qatar? 

Qatar is a conservative country but the dress code for visitors is quite relaxed. Qatar is one of the most diverse countries in the world, with people from over 90 different countries living and working here. You are just as likely to see someone in a sari as you are in a football shirt or headscarf.

While locals wear thobes and abayas, expats and tourists are free to embrace their clothing of comfort as long as it is modest and respectful to the culture. Swimwear is allowed at private beaches and pools.

Visitors should note that they are expected to wear conservative attire in some places, e.g. government buildings, national museums and Doha's renowned Souq Waqif. If you are wearing shorts or beach attire, it is likely you will be asked to cover up at these places.

Can we take flags and banners to the stadium?

Spectators shall be entitled to carry the following to all sectors of the stadium:

·         Banner / Flag – 2 x 1.5 meters official countries' flags and banners with participating clubs' emblems made of low-flammable materials;

·         Flexible plastic poles – no longer than 1 m and no more than 1 cm in diameter.

For any other items (bigger flags and banners, musical instruments, etc.) please email [email protected] with the details and you will be provided with the procedure for approving banners and flags.

Requests must be received at least seven days before the relevant match.

What is Qatar doing to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of workers on its construction sites?

The health and wellbeing of every worker in Qatar is the country's top priority. There are currently more than 30,000 workers engaged on FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 specific construction sites.

The Workers' Welfare Standards implemented by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) – the organisation responsible for delivering the infrastructure required for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – cover ethical recruitment, accommodation and working conditions. Regular audits support compliance, while contractors in breach of the standards are subject to enforcement measures, including contract termination and blacklisting.

Click here for more information about the SC's commitment to workers' welfare.

What can a person with disability expect?

In partnership with FIFA, Qatar is aiming to ensure an accessible experience for all fans during the tournament. Drop-off and pick-up points have been identified in the stadiums in order to support disabled fans who travel via the Doha Metro and associated bus service. Volunteers will also be on hand to direct disabled fans to their seats and other amenities within the stadium.

The SC has also established the Accessibility Forum – a platform from which to ask people with disabilities – and more than 30 organisations that represent them – how we can make the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ the most accessible tournament ever held. This forum was consulted for recommendations ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019.

Are LGBTQ fans welcome?

Everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religion, race or nationality will be welcome. All fans should rest assured that the tournament organisers are taking every reasonable effort to ensure their safety and wellbeing during their visit in Qatar.

Generally speaking, public display of affection is not part of Qatari culture and therefore locals expect visitors from all backgrounds to respect the local culture and customs.

Will all ticket holders be guaranteed entry into Qatar?

Spectators from all nationalities are welcome to visit Qatar. Qatar offers visa-free entry to nationals from more than 80 countries. Click here for more information.

How readily available is public transport in Qatar?

Public transport is plentiful, efficient and affordable. The new Doha Metro forms the backbone of the new integrated transport system in the country. Along with the bus network, you can reach your destination quickly and conveniently. Maximum travel times between any venue in Qatar is just one hour.

A single trip on Doha Metro will cost just QAR 2 (£0.45 / $0.50), while a day ticket will cost QAR 6 (£1.30 / $1.65). The fan zones and entertainment locations will also be well served by Qatar's public transport networks.

Fans arriving at Hamad International Airport can also take the Doha Metro (Red Line) direct from the airport to a number of locations in Qatar where accommodation is located.

Information regarding the Doha Metro can be found here. There's also a handy app for smartphones that can be downloaded here.

What about taxis and hailing apps such as Uber?

Taxis are a convenient and inexpensive way of getting around Qatar. A taxi from Hamad International Airport to Doha city centre will take approximately 20 minutes and cost approximately QAR 50-60 (£11-13 / $13/15). Uber and other taxi hailing apps (Careem / Mowasalat) are available in Qatar and are generally very efficient and inexpensive.

How safe is it in Qatar?

Qatar benefits from one of the lowest crime rates in the world and is consistently ranked as the safest country in the region.

Do Qatar's police and security forces have experience of dealing with traveling football fans?

Qatar's police and security forces have extensive experience when it comes to ensuring the safety of traveling fans who may not be familiar with the country and its culture.

Qatar has hosted a number of high-profile football matches in recent years, including FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the finals of the SuperCoppa Italiana (on two occasions), CAF Super Cup and Tunisian Super Cup to name but a few. In addition, Qatar has hosted numerous international friendlies, including matches involving England, Brazil and Argentina.

Away from football, Qatar's police and security forces have overseen the smooth running of a host of major sporting events, such as the 2006 Asian Games, 2015 World Handball Championship and most recently, 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships.

In order to support the country's police and security forces, Qatar has also signed memorandum of understanding agreements with some of the world's leading police, security and intelligence forces who have experience of dealing with mega sporting events, such as the UK Home Office, French Gendarmerie, INTERPOL and the FBI, who work to assist Qatar with knowledge sharing and training.

When is Qatar's weekend and will I hear the call to prayer?

Qatar's weekend is Friday and Saturday. Friday is Islam's holy day and when many people in the country attend their local mosque. Many shops, malls and restaurants are closed on Friday morning (many from 11 AM to 1 PM), with the majority opening in the early afternoon after prayer time. Visitors should also be aware of the call to prayer, which they will hear five times a day if they are near a mosque. The call to prayer is also played in a number of public places.

What mobile phone networks operate in Qatar?

There are two network providers: Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar. Sim cards for both can be bought at Hamad International Airport and at various shops around the country.

What can I do besides watch football in Qatar?

There is plenty to enjoy in Qatar, including beach activities, water sports, museums, shopping and desert safaris to name but a few. Check out this article about the top visitor activities. For further information visit Qatar's National Tourism Council website.

What is Qatar National Day and what can fans expect in terms of activities on the day (18 December)?

Qatar National Day is celebrated annually on 18 December. It is a public holiday that commemorates Qatar's unification in 1878. Liverpool will play their first match on Qatar National Day 2019.

The entire country has a festive atmosphere as residents and tourists take advantage of the hundreds of free events that take place, including firework displays, classic car shows, cultural exhibitions such as the renowned Darb Al Saai, and the hugely popular national day parade that takes place along the iconic Doha Corniche which includes an aerobatics display from the Qatari Air Force.

A full list of Qatar National Day activities will be posted on a dedicated site closer to the day.  This year's National Day will add to the fan experience on what will be a FIFA Club World Cup semi-final day.

Where should I go for medical treatment?

Hamad General Hospital offers treatment to tourists.

Hamad General Hospital Location

What are the useful numbers in Qatar?

Emergency number: 999

British Embassy in Qatar: (+974) 44962000

Mexican Embassy in Qatar: (+974) 44508000

French Embassy in Qatar: (+974) 44021755

Tunisian Embassy in Qatar: (+974) 44162222