Football fans, who are dreaming to be present for the next FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, might have already started the countdown. After all, first time in history, a Middle East country shall be hosting a gala event like the World Cup.
However, there is a bit of bad news for football aficionados. Those who were hoping to grab a glass of chilled beer while watching the match might get a bit of shock. Well, the Conservative Muslim Gulf nation has imposed a 100% tax on alcohol. The so-called ‘Sin Tax’ became effective from 1st January, weeks after the government disclosed that it is planning to introduce a duty on health-damaging items.
The policy was disclosed when the Qatar Distribution Company, the nation’s only alcohol retailer, published a 30-page list containing the new tariff on alcoholic items. In Qatar, the price of alcohol was already expensive. Now, as per the new levies, the price of the alcoholic beverages has just doubled. So expats, football fans, as well as local people would need to shell out £20 for a six-pack of beer. Similarly, a 100cl bottle of gin would cost 340 Qatari riyals (£75) and a 75cl of wine would cost £20.
Walid Zidani, a spokesman of finance ministry stated that the new tax will also hike the price of sugary drinks would go up by half, while the price of tobacco, alcohol, energy drinks and pork will also hike.
The issue of alcohol is probably going to be a delicate issue for the 2022 games, which is supposed to draw more than 1.5 million international visitors. Tournament organizers in Qatar have stated alcohol will be available for fans in allotted spots, but not in public spaces, in order to respect the tradition of the nation.
Non-Qataris can buy alcohol in the nation with a permit and can drink in licensed bars, clubs and hotels, even though public drinking is banned. However, Qatari officials mentioned that alcohol drinking will be even more restricted than the previous World Cups.