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World Cup party for fans canceled due to restrictions on alcohol sales

Organizers have tried to downplay the cancellation of a World Cup party for Welsh fans ahead of their Crunch Group B clash with Iran.

Fan charity Gol Cymru wanted to build on the success of their parties held on either side of Wales’ World Cup opener against USA with a second round of events for Friday’s game.

However, they told ticket holders that a change “imposed” after “last-minute” talks with Qatari authorities meant they could “stop serving alcohol before Friday noon”.

Wales and Iran kick off at 13:00 Qatar time, 10:00 UK time at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.

Gol Cymru’s email read: “The hotel has held overnight discussions with the Qatari authorities and unfortunately, as with Qatar, a change has been imposed and we are now unable to serve alcohol before Friday noon.

“As a result, we had to make the decision to cancel the pre-match event and offer you two options.”

This includes attending a post-match party on Friday or a pre-match party on November 29 before the final Group B game against England, both also at the InterContinental Doha Hotel in the West Bay district.

The Wales Football Supporters’ Association Fans’ Embassy later noted that Friday is a holy day and “no alcohol is allowed before noon”.

Event host Rhodri Williams said they always considered no alcohol rules before noon, adding he believed there had been a “misunderstanding” in fans’ update on the cancellation.

Mr Williams told the PA news agency: “We respect the law here, I’m not upset, I want to be honest with you, nobody has contacted me to say ‘God I’m really disappointed’.

“The response to this is positive and reasonable.”

He added: “I think there was a little bit of a misunderstanding, a little bit of a misunderstanding, and it’s as simple as that.

“Let’s keep enjoying the World Cup and hope Wales can get out of the group with England then we’ll all be happy.”

Mr Williams said there weren’t many bookings ahead of the game, citing the need for fans to travel to the stadium in time for kick-off.

He said of the events: “It’s a wonderful, wonderful atmosphere. I just want to thank the Wales fans for being so understanding and supportive and not having a problem at all.”

Mr Williams added: “Friday, can you have a drink after 12? Yes you can. How much? charges. You can have the time of your life on Friday – just wait until 12pm. That’s all.”

The sale of alcohol to fans in the World Cup stadiums in Qatar was banned two days before the start of the tournament – with the exception of company spectators.

Britain’s Foreign Office said it was a criminal offense to drink alcohol or be intoxicated in public, with alcohol being available at certain venues, including hotels.

Wales Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) Paul Corkrey said the pre-match party was a “great place” to gather ahead of Monday’s 1-1 draw with USA and the fans were “quite reasonable” on the way to the game.

He said it was “disappointing” to hear the changes that were imposed before the game on Friday.

Elsewhere, the Football Association of Wales said Fifa had confirmed fans could wear Rainbow Wall bucket hats and rainbow flags inside the stadium on Friday, after such items were confiscated on Monday.

In a statement, they said: “In response to the FAW, Fifa has confirmed that fans wearing rainbow wall bucket hats and rainbow flags will be granted entry to the stadium for Cymrus’ game against Iran on Friday.

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