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Qatar: Domestic Laws issued in Relation to the 2022 World Cup – Part 2

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The following is the second part of a two-part guest post on domestic laws in Qatar issued ahead of the 2022 Men’s World Cup in soccer by Ali Ebshara, a foreign law intern working with Foreign Law Specialist George Sadek at the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress. Read part one on the rights of foreign workers working in Qatar in the tourism and construction sectors before and during the tournament here.

Today’s post will focus on:

  • Laws governing the behavior of foreign nationals visiting the country during the tournament;
  • Laws regulating rights of broadcasting and FIFA’s intellectual property; and
  • Laws on the entry and exit of fans, fans’ financial transactions and the establishment of a security Commission.

    Map of Qatar
    Map of Qatar. Central Intelligence Agency, 1995. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division,

Laws Governing the Behavior of Foreign Nationals During the Tournament

Qatar has a number of laws in place that require foreign nationals visiting the country to adhere to local customs, which are applicable to fans attending the World Cup tournament.

a. Alcohol Consumption

Qatar has declared that use of alcohol will not be permitted in stadiums. The public consumption of alcohol is illegal under Article 270 of Law No 11 of 2004 on the penal code. It is punishable by imprisonment for a period of up to six months and a fine of up to 3,000 Qatari Riyal (QR) (about US$824). Article 271 states that supplying alcohol to anyone under age 16 can result in a fine of up to 10,000 QR (about US$2,746) and an imprisonment period of up to three years. Smuggling alcohol is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years and a fine of up to 10,000 QR (about US$27,464) under article 272 of the aforementioned law.

b. Laws Against Indecent Acts and Sex Outside of Marriage

Qatar imposes harsh penalties on persons convicted of committing indecent acts and the act of sexual intercourse outside of marriage. Article 290 of Law No 11 of 2004 places up to six months’ imprisonment or up to a 3,000 QR fine (US$824) on anyone that displays immoral things, acts, or gestures in public or open spaces.

Additionally, article 294 of the same law penalizes the offense of public display of debauchery, dissipation, or adultery with a term of imprisonment up to three years. Furthermore, under article 281 of the penal code, sex outside of marriage is punished by a term of imprisonment for up to seven years.

c. Dress Code

Qatar is a Muslim country. In accordance with Muslim values, Qatar expects foreign nationals intending to attend the World Cup tournament to adhere to wearing conservative clothing in public places. According to the Qatar Moments website, wearing indecent clothing, including short or transparent clothes violates public morals.

d. Laws against Prostitution

Qatar also has strict penalties against the act of prostitution. Article 298 imposes up to 10 years’ imprisonment for prostitution against any person who uses prostitution as a profession. (Law No. 11 of 2004, art. 298). Article 295 imposes a term of imprisonment between one and three years for anyone running or associated with a brothel. Finally, article 296 imposes the penalty of imprisonment between one and three years against individuals who attempt to groom or seduce another to commit prostitution.

e. Gambling

Finally, gambling is prohibited in Qatar. Article 275 of the penal code penalizes gambling with a term of imprisonment for up to three months and up to a 3,000 QR fine (about US$824). Likewise, article 276 of the same law states that running a gambling organization is punished with up to a year of imprisonment and up to a 5000 QB fine (about US$1,373). Accordingly, fans are prohibited putting monetary bets on specific teams.

 Laws Regulating Rights of Broadcasting and FIFA’s Intellectual Property

Qatar passed Law No. 10 of 2021, adopting legal measures to host the tournament. Law No. 10 of 2021 governs an array of regulations, including protecting the intellectual property rights of FIFA, regulating the rights of broadcasting games, and imposing penalties against violators of this law. These laws are in line with the guarantees previously given to FIFA during the 2010 bidding process.

The law consists of 42 articles. Article 2 of the law limits the effects of the law to the period of the tournament. Article 6 removes the work authorization requirement issued by the Ministry of Labor to foreign nationals working for the international entities organizing the tournament, as well as individuals affiliated with FIFA. Article 8 exempts FIFA and all its branches and subsidiaries from any fees or taxes normally applicable in Qatar.

The law adds copyright protection to all intellectual property rights and trademarks related to FIFA. (Law No. 10 of 2021, arts. 14, 15, and 16.) It also protects FIFA’s right to distribution, and the sale of game tickets. (Id. art. 19.) Furthermore, it protects the personal information of individuals purchasing tickets sold by FIFA. (Id. art. 21.)

The assigned broadcasting channels are tasked with providing broadcasting services to FIFA. They are tasked with broadcasting all video and audio content related to the event to FIFA or the person appointed by FIFA. The broadcasting channels are also responsible for setting up the center and equipment required for video and audio broadcasting. (Id. art. 27.) Advertisements or promotion in tournament locations are prohibited without prior approval from FIFA or the responsible bodies. (Id. art 28.) No advertisement rights shall be exercised in the Commercial Zone during the period of the tournament without prior approval. (Id. art. 29.).

Articles 38-42 of Law No. 10 of 2021 place penalties for those that violate the above acts. Article 38 states that anyone violating articles 16 (violating the Intellectual Rights of FIFA), 18 (Practicing commercial activities without permission), 28, para. 1 (advertisements or promotion in tournament locations without permission), and 29, para. 1 (advertising in the commercial zones without permission) shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding one year and fined no more than 500,000 QR (about US$137,324). Article 39 creates a chain of liability and states that those managing or employing the violator shall face the penalties of the law, with the condition that they are aware of the violations being committed, or that the violation was a result of their mismanagement. The employer is jointly liable for paying any fines imposed if the violation was committed by an employee, in the manager’s name, or for the manager’s benefit.

If you are interested in the FIFA regulation generally of the World Cup, you might enjoy Elizabeth Boomer’s post on Human Rights, Migration, and Soccer: The Role of Fifa (2021).

Laws on the Entry and Exit of Fans, Fans’ Financial Transactions, and the Establishment of a Security Commission

Additionally, the aforementioned Law No. 10 of 2021 governs the entry and exit of fans interested in attending the tournament, financial transactions carried out by fans and organizers, and the establishment of a security commission supervising the security of the event. Article 4 allows flexibility in granting entry visas to foreign nationals associated with FIFA and those organizing the tournament.

The law loosens restrictions on the transfer and exchange of foreign funds. It allows the wire transfer of foreign currencies within Qatar to foreign countries, and vice versa. These rules sunsets 90 days after the end of the tournament. (Law No. 10 of 2021, art. 13.)

The law ensures the safety and security of the tournament by establishing the security commission. The objective of the commission is to maintain the tournament’s security by adopting various measures, including providing cyber security in addition to physical security. (Id. arts. 9 – 12.)

Finally, the law grants organizers, security personnel, and fans the right to use the public transportation systems free of charge during the periods set by the Supreme Committee, and free public transport to security personnel working for the tournament. (Id. arts. 32 & 33.) The law forbids transportation companies, including airlines and airports, from inflating their fees and prices during the tournament. (Id. art. 34.)

Qatar law books on the shelf in the Law Library of Congress
Qatar law books at the Law Library of Congress. Photo by George Sadek. 

Additional Law Library Resources on Qatar

The Law Library of Congress holds the official gazette of Qatar.

In addition, we have a variety of reference books that analyze Qatari domestic legislation, such as:

If you have a broader interest in Qatari legal developments, we also publish Global Legal Monitor articles on Qatar and the Law Library blog.

If you are interested in the FIFA regulation generally of the World Cup, you might enjoy Elizabeth Boomer’s post on Human Rights, Migration, and Soccer: The Role of Fifa (2021).

Subscribe to In Custodia Legis – it’s free! – to receive interesting posts drawn from the Law Library of Congress’s vast collections and our staff’s expertise in U.S., foreign, and international law.

Comments (2)

  1. The worst mistake to have the world cup in this country.

  2. Why bother!!

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