CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE in Doha: Sir Dave Richards says that the issue of alcohol being sold in Qatar at the 2022 World Cup “needs addressing” because of the English and German culture.

The chairman of the Premier League was in Doha, Qatar, where he participating at the International Sport Security Conference.

Staying in a ‘dry’ hotel himself, Richards said “In our country and in Germany, we have a culture. We call it, ‘We would like to go for a pint and that pint is a pint of beer’. It is our culture as much as your culture is not drinking. There has to be a happy medium.”

Hassan Al Thawadi, general secretary of Qatar 2022, has always insisted that alcohol will be available for visiting fans – though not as freely as in other parts of the world – and that he and his organising colleagues are in discussions with FIFA about distribution and provision.

“If you don’t do something about it, you are starting to bury your head in the sand a little bit because it needs addressing,” said Richards. “You might be better off saying don’t come. But a World Cup without England, Germany, the Dutch, Danes and Scandinavians. It’s unthinkable.”

Richards also brought up the issue of heat as a problem for travelling fans in a country where summer temperatures can reach up to  50degrees.

He said “It is a fantastic place but is obviously extremely hot. Knowing Qatar, they will be able to build all these air-conditioned stadiums that mean the players can play in cool temperatures. But they have to understand that fans will come in their thousands and that there must be provisions for them.”

“The heat is a difficulty though. I mean, you can’t exactly go and sit on the beach for ten minutes. You would roast.”

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