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Qatar World Cup organisers planning 'desert festival' where England and Wales fans can drink up to 17 hours a day

Rory O'Callaghan

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Qatar World Cup organisers planning 'desert festival' where England and Wales fans can drink up to 17 hours a day

Qatar World Cup organisers are planning a 'desert festival' where England and Wales fans will be able to drink alcohol for up to 17 hours a day.

Organisers have brought in Glastonbury promoters Arcadia to run the festival during the tournament, which gets underway on November 20.

The Sun claim the festival, which will be known as 'Arcadia Spectacular', will be staged just outside of Qatar's capital city of Doha and will be able to accommodate 15,000 fans each day.

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As well as promising "A-list line ups from the global stage of techno and house music", the festival will have food options and bars selling alcohol from 10am through to 3am the next day- allowing supporters the chance to watch all four daily games in the group stage of the tournament.

Organisers promise the festival will offer one of "the most immersive shows on Earth", complete with the famous fire-breathing 50-tonne Glastonbury spider.

It will be staged between Doha's airport to the south of the city and the England team base camp at the Souk Al-Wakrah hotel – around 20 minutes from the capital city.

Tickets for the event are likely to cost more than £50 per day, while it is understood that a pint of beer could set fans back as much as £8, although pricing is yet to be confirmed by the organisers.

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Glastonbury promoters Arcadia are to stage a festival in Qatar during the World Cup (Image: Alamy)
Glastonbury promoters Arcadia are to stage a festival in Qatar during the World Cup (Image: Alamy)

World Cup organisers have also set up a free-to-enter fan festival in the centre of Doha, in Al Bidda Park, which will only serve alcohol from 5pm until the end of the last match of the day, at midnight.

Alcohol will also be available at matches but only before and after the game, and once fans have passed through stadium security.

Bars will be shut during games, while supporters are prohibited from drinking in sight of the pitch.

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Qatar has faced pressure to relax its strict laws surrounding alcohol for the duration of the tournament.

Alcohol is not illegal in Qatar but there is typically zero tolerance for drinking in public, while being drunk is a criminal offence.

Alcohol is usually only available to buy for over 21-year-olds from specially licensed hotel restaurants and bars, although there is also a single state-controlled off-licence which can only be used by permanent residents.

The tournament in Qatar gets underway on November 20 (Image: Alamy)
The tournament in Qatar gets underway on November 20 (Image: Alamy)
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The strict rules around alcohol and the price of staying in Qatar has seemingly put off England supporters from travelling to the country this winter.

In June, the Football Association had yet to sell out its full allocation of tickets for the Three Lions' group matches to the England Supporters' Club – the core group of fans that typically watch games home and away.

England face Iran in their opening match on November 21 before taking on the United States (November 25) and Wales (November 29) in their remaining group matches.

Wales, competing in their first World Cup since 1958, take on the United States (November 21) and Iran (November 25) before their crunch match with rivals England.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Football World Cup, Qatar, England, Wales

Rory O'Callaghan
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