England fans at World Cup taken to sheikh’s palace whilst beer hunting
World Cup: Fans watch from cafe after being locked out of fan zone
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Two England supporters have claimed that their hunt for some beers in Qatar took an unbelievable twist on Saturday night which led them to meeting lions in a sheikh’s palace. They explained that they were only attempting to get their bearings ahead of the World Cup but then met with one of the sheikh’s.
It was announced earlier this week that Qatar had decided to backtrack on its decision to serve alcohol at the World Cup, ruling that none would be sold at stadiums or in areas surrounding. Instead, alcohol can now only be purchased in the Fifa fan festival, other fan festivals and licensed venues, making its acquisition trickier than most supporters anticipated.
Though locals appear to have sympathised with travelling fans, especially a sheikh who approached two England fans and offered to help them conclude their ‘beer hunt’. The two supporters explained to talkSPORT: “We’ve just been having a good time, having a mooch and trying to get our bearings. The set-up’s spot on, we’ve been enjoying ourselves.”
The other continued: “Last night we met one of the Sheikh’s sons and he took us back to the palace. He showed us that he had lions and everything. They’ve (Qatar residents) made us so welcome.
“Basically we were on a bit of a hunt for some beers and he was like ‘yeah, we sort beers, we sort beers’, so we jumped into the back of his Toyota Landcruiser, ended up at a big palace. He showed us his monkeys, his exotic birds. It was nuts.”
There have been mixed reviews emerging from Qatar on the eve of England’s opener on Monday afternoon. Some have found that the hospitality in the Middle Eastern country has been above and beyond and that their accommodation has been satisfactory, though others have touched down in Qatar and arrived at unfinished buildings despite the tournament being underway.
Experiences have also been varying for those attempting to attend fan festivals in order to buy alcohol and watch the tournament – which opened on Sunday afternoon, with Qatar losing 2-0 to Ecuador thanks to a brace from Enner Valencia. Some supporters were turned away before the first match of the competition, with other fans being forced to try and catch a glimpse of matches from TV screens in nearby cafes and restaurants.
Though FIFA President Gianni Infantino will be hoping that this does not become a recurring theme in Qatar. Speaking earlier this week, he said: “This place will be the heart of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. We are proud that you are here. The world is united in Doha for this World Cup and this is thanks to you. This is where you will celebrate every night between now and the 18th of December.”
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