Women feel safer in the World Cup with restrictions on alcoholic beverages


Many fans were outraged by the idea that the World Cup would be played in a conservative country like Qatar, where the sale of alcohol is highly restricted. But for women who went to cheer in the Asian country, the restriction has made the tournament experience safer.

“I was expecting a very dangerous place for women, I didn’t think it would be safe here. Since I arrived I feel safe as a traveling fan,” Ellie Molloson told Reuters.

Molloson, who is an ambassador for a campaign against sexism in football called HerGameToo, said her father was so concerned that he accompanied her to Qatar to ensure she was safe, but his company turned out to be unnecessary.

The 19-year-old said the lack of alcohol has made the atmosphere less lewd and disrespectful around World Cup matches, but in her opinion the main difference is cultural.

“I think it actually has to do with conservatism. Alcohol causes a little more hostility than public harassment,” she explains. “I like messiness, a good atmosphere, but you don’t see much of that around here. It’s very different, it ends up being a more familiar environment, a climate very different from what happens in England”.

Argentina fan Ariana Gold, 21, told Reuters she was nervous before traveling to the Middle East as she didn’t know what to expect.

“It’s good for women, I really like football and I thought when I was in my country that Qatar would be a hostile environment for women. But no, I’m comfortable here,” she said.

Alcoholic drinks are sold in bars and hotels in Qatar, but there is little consumption compared to other editions of the biggest football tournament in the world.

“The atmosphere is great, even without the drinks,” said Emma Smith, an England fan. “Everyone is enjoying it anyway.” She still claims that she feels safe in the country.

“Since there’s little alcohol here, I feel really safe.”

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