MPs insist fans heading to World Cup must not be priced out of enjoying a beer

Football fans traveling to Qatar for the World Cup must not pay too much to enjoy a beer, MPs demanded.

Former Conservative Ministers Alun Cairns and David Mundell sought assurances on costs to help supporters of England and Wales budget for their trips.

A pint of beer could reportedly cost as much as £15, although it could be cheaper in designated fan zones set up for the event, which starts next month.

The Foreign Office points out that alcohol is only available in licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol with a permit system.

It adds that drinking alcohol or being intoxicated in public is a criminal offense in Qatar.

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Mr Mundell said in a parliamentary debate: “It is very important that we understand how the fan zones work and on what basis alcohol is consumed.

“But there is another issue related to this and that is the cost of alcohol and there have been some previous commitments – and perhaps the Minister is aware, if not (Mr Cairns) – in relation to the maximum price that could be charged in Could be billed beer and if that is enforced.

“Because while it pains me that Scotland aren’t participating in this particular World Cup, I wouldn’t want Welsh and English friends looking for a pint of beer to be denied it on cost grounds alone.”

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Mr Cairns, leader of the all-party parliamentary group on Qatar, said his colleague had raised an “extremely important point”, adding: “This is really important as so many people will be travelling.

“The cost of alcohol as well as accommodation costs will be a concern for many and the more information that can be provided the better people can budget to see how long they can stay dependent on those relevant costs .”

Mr Cairns previously said alcohol “gives an interesting dimension to any tournament and the World Cup is no different,” adding: “This becomes even more complicated in a nation where alcohol consumption is more restricted than many other countries.”

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“We have now been informed that fans in the fan zones are encouraged to visit them if they wish to consume alcohol.

“Monitoring and managing this issue requires a delicate balance. This is a challenge for all nations, whoever hosts a tournament this big, but the police authorities in the western world are more experienced in dealing with this type of difficulty and this type of situation.”

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