ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Qatar on Tuesday introduced a new alcohol tax which is sure to stir controversy ahead of the Gulf nation’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Qatar introduced the new 100 percent tax on alcohol on Jan. 1, 2019, labeling it a “sin” tax.
Ahead of the new year, Qatar’s Ministry of Finance announced it would enforce the levy on “health-damaging goods” by the beginning of 2019.
“The law includes 100 percent tax on tobacco and its products and energy drinks and a 50 percent tax on sugary drinks,” the ministry said in a December statement.
Although drinking is banned in public, licensed bars and clubs in Qatar serve alcohol. Prices of alcoholic beverages have virtually doubled since the tax was introduced with a 24-case of beer costing an average USD 105 while a 750ml bottle of wine costs USD 23.
Qatar was voted to host the World Cup in 2022 after Russia won the bid to host the 2018 tournament during a December 2010 election.
Since then, the Gulf state has been criticized and monitored over the poor conditions of nearly 1.7 million migrant workers.
Allegations of mistreatment and poor working conditions for laborers have marred Qatar’s World Cup bid, with some claiming 1,200 people had been killed while working on projects for the competition.
The 2022 World Cup is also the first tournament which will be held during the winter season due to the scorching summer temperatures in the Gulf country.
The alcohol tax has added to the frustration of sports fans who took to social media to voice their distress. One Twitter user shared his concern over FIFA’s decision to award the tournament to Qatar.
“It was a bad decision for FIFA to award Qatar a chance to hold a World Cup tournament,” Kioko Joseph (@Joe_Kioko) tweeted.
It was a bad decision for FIFA to award Qatar a chance to hold a World Cup tournament.— Kioko Joseph (@Joe_Kioko) January 1, 2019
Another user suggested that FIFA was exploiting fans for money, and even called for the tournament to be canceled.
“Fans = [money bag emoji] nothing else matters. The tournament should be boycott by players, teams, and fans alike [sic],” Carl Bozeate (@carlbozeate) wrote.
Fans = 💰 💰 nothing else matters.— Carl Bozeate (@carlbozeate) January 1, 2019
The tournament should be boycott by players, teams and fans alike
User @TottiFransesco agreed with Bozeate, stating that FIFA “only cares about money,” and the introduction of alcohol tax is “another reason why Qatar is a very, very bad [choice to] host the World Cup.
Another reason why Qatar is a very, very bad choiche too host the World Cup. Too bad FIFA only cares about money.— Fransesco Totti (@TottiFransesco) January 1, 2019