DOHA, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Many supporters bristled at the idea of the World Cup being held in a conservative country like Qatar where alcohol sales are highly restricted, but for some female fans it made for a safer experience. at the tournament.
“I expected a very dangerous place for women. I didn’t think I would be safe here… since coming here that hasn’t been the case, as a traveling female fan I can say I felt very safe. “England fan Ellie Moloson told Reuters.
Molosson, who is an ambassador for a campaign to tackle sexism in football called HerGameToo, said her father was so concerned that he accompanied her to Qatar to ensure she was safe, but it turned out that his services as an intermediary were not needed.
The 19-year-old said the lack of alcohol contributed to a less bad atmosphere around World Cup matches, but she said it was mostly cultural.
“I think it’s actually due to a more socially conservative society.” “I think alcohol contributes a bit more to hostility, rather than things like catcalling, wolf-whistling and sexual harassment,” she explained.
“I like a lot of banter, I like a good atmosphere, you don’t really get that much of that here, it’s very different but it’s a lot more enjoyable, a lot more family friendly… but you don’t have quite the same atmosphere as in England.”
Argentinian fan Ariana Gold, 21, told Reuters she was nervous before traveling to the Middle East because she didn’t know what to expect.
“It’s really nice for women, I’m a big fan of football and when I was in my country I thought maybe this (Qatar) is a men-only area and maybe it’s uncomfortable for women, but no, I’m very comfortable and that’s very nice here,” she said.
Alcohol is available in some bars and hotels in Qatar, but there is a distinct lack of the kind of consumption usually seen at the world’s biggest soccer tournament.
“It’s still a pretty good atmosphere even though there’s no drink and everyone’s being sensible,” said England fan Emma Smith. “Everybody gets on with it and everybody’s happy.”
Did the 33-year-old Sheffield man feel safe in Qatar?
“Yeah definitely, definitely — because there’s no alcohol involved, it feels really safe,” she said.
Writing by Philip O’Connor, reporting by Helena Williams
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