The Qatar authorities may have agreed that football fans will be allowed to get drunk during the forthcoming World Cup and that LGBTI+ supporters need not fear prosecution, the AD reported on Friday.
The information, the paper says, comes from a document which has been shared with the Dutch football association and the foreign affairs ministry, and which covers agreements made between the tournament organisers and the Qatar police.
Nevertheless, the status of the document, which, according to the AD was first circulated by the US overseas advisory council Osac to American expats in Qatar, remains unclear, the paper said.
And Ronan Evain, chairman of fans association Football Supporters Europe told the paper that it is still open to question what risks supporters run if they go to Qatar. He recommends fans assume the Qatar laws remain in force and be aware that they do face the risk of imprisonment should they break them.
The document says drunken fans will only face sanctions if they are violent or are at risk of extreme alcohol poisoning. They will also be allowed to sing, make music and stand on chairs and tables and wear what they want.
They are, however, being asked to respect international etiquette near mosques and keep their shirts on.
Journalists and activists will also be able to write what they like and no one will be refused entry to the country, the document states. People from the LGBTI+ community will not be arrested or face prosecution for showing affection in public and same sex couples can share hotel rooms.
Neither the organisers or world football body Fifa are willing to comment on the agreement, the paper said.
However, Qatar’s Supreme Committee, which is organising the tournament, told Deutsche Welle this week: ‘Alcohol is not part of Qatari culture but hospitality is, and so those fans who wish to consume alcohol during the World Cup in Qatar will be able to do so.’
Meanwhile, the cabinet is expected to announce later on Friday that sports minister Conny Helder will be the Dutch government’s representative in Qatar during the tournament.
The decision is set for discussion at Friday’s cabinet meeting after which it will be formally confirmed, NOS said.
It is still not clear if prime minister Mark Rutte or king Willem-Alexander will visit the tournament if the Dutch team does well and that decision is being kept open, NOS said.
Belgium, for example, has said it will only send the king or a minister if the Red Devils make it to the semi finals.
The cabinet said earlier that a government representative would go to Qatar as is customary with big sports events. MPs voted earlier not to send anyone.
Foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra told MPs last month that the cabinet had decided to press forward with sending a delegation after talks with ‘countries, international partners and human rights organisations’.
Officials have also had talks with Qatar about the human rights situation which has already improved in some areas, he said.
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