Sorting photos, covering clothes, local rules… How fans prepare for a trip to Qatar
In my suitcase: I did not put my personal cell phone, bikini, religious book or alcohol. » Packing your bags can sometimes be a real headache as fans put the finishing touches on the final preparations before they hit the big road for the FIFA World Cup, which kicks off on Sunday. It’s hard to find clothing tailored to the expected 30 degrees while respecting the traditions of a kingdom whose criminal law is based on sharia. To guide their preparations, Qatar has developed a manual: the Do’s and don’ts (do’s and don’ts). Therefore, the organizing country recommends: “having pashmina as a staple in your wardrobe”, and provide loose clothing that is neither too short nor sheer.
“We were told that there will be an automated search of the suitcases upon arrival. But the rules are pretty vague. I asked them if I could have a problem if I had a box of condoms in my bag when I was not married. They said “I don’t know” shows that he is a supporter. Not very confident. » “It’s going to be 30 degrees, I’m wearing shorts whether they like it or not », warns another.
Adapt to the local culture
However, the adopted rules do not create general enthusiasm. “It’s like walking into someone’s house, if they tell you to take your shoes off, you take them off. I will not ask Qatar to change its customs to enter the religious building in shorts.” says Hervé Mougin, president of the supporters’ group Les Irrésistibles Français (IF).
“Adapting to the local culture seems normal to me, Adds Laetitia, a supporter who will work for FIFA around the world. We will rest and celebrate in the areas reserved for the World Cup. You should be more careful in the city. Personally, I don’t mind being below 30 degrees when I wear long sleeves. I will bring many different clothes and I will let you know when the time comes. »
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Fans will also have to deal with a number of less intuitive rules listed in the same guide: “During a meeting or party, do not touch the bottom of your shoe directly to anyone, this is a sign of disrespect”, “Do not greet with your left hand, do not eat food”. “I’ll have to learn. I still don’t understand everything Laetitia admits. I’ll mostly wait to see how things unfold there. »
Traveling with an empty smartphone
In addition to these local regulations, there are also recommendations issued by the French authorities. Faced with the risk of espionage, the spokesperson of the National Commission for Accountability and Liberties (CNIL) sent a number of recommendations to his supporters. “Ideally, travel with an empty smartphone… or an old phone that has been reset. »
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Far from placating some supporters, a caveat: “Unfortunately, I have to take it with me because my work phone is also my personal phone. I will back up and filter any information that may be sensitive before I leave. I have to take the time to think about what might be illegal in there or what might fall into the wrong hands. »
Foreign nationals are required to install two mobile apps upon arrival: Hayya, the official World Cup app, and Etheraz, which monitors the Covid-19 outbreak. Spyware-like programs that allow authorities to read, delete or modify the contents of a phone, according to Cnil. He advises to be vigilant: “Particular attention should be paid to photographs, videos or digital works that could get you into trouble with the legislation of the country you are visiting. » Especially LGBT+ content, which is still banned in Qatar.
“I have a problem with that. Herve Mougin says. Some of my members may have downloaded an LGBT dating app and experienced problems. There are also those who have private pornographic videos on their phones that can be used against them. I take the subject very seriously. I wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide official information and recommendations to supporters. »
“On the one hand, I understand that he wants to apply their rules, and on the other hand, they have agreed to host a high-level international event. It means facing the world.”Adds the president of the supporters group Les Irrésistibles Français.
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Officials said it would be flexible: “There is a form of tolerance” He announced that the organizing committee of the World Cup will include all supporters “welcome”. Everyone will have a long way to go.