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England fans heading to Qatar World Cup warned not to HOLD HANDS in public – even with a partner of the opposite sex

FANS travelling to this month’s World Cup MUST be mindful of Qatari culture, police have warned.

The latest Foreign Office advice for the 3,000-plus England supporters planning a trip to the Gulf state is that NONE of them should hold hands in public, even with a partner of the OPPOSITE sex.

Fans have been told to avoid holding hands in Qatar
Supporters have been urged not to provoke Qatari authorities

But while 15 special UK police “engagement officers” will act as a buffer between fans and potentially over-zealous local forces to try to “de-escalate” issues, supporters have been urged to avoid provoking the Qatari authorities.

Qatar has pulled in extra police from Turkey and Pakistan to help control the World Cup.

And Cheshire Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the UK’s top football cop, said: “Our officers will be there to try to engage and calm things down if needed.

“We’re not morality police and we are not going to tell people not to protest.

“That’s a local enforcement issue. We just want to look after the supporters.

“The last thing we want is someone inadvertently causing offence, so if we see there’s something that may cause a problem we can go and try to de-escalate the situation.

“We know that England fans have often gone to a square and drunk but that’s not really an option because you don’t have the off-sales in Qatar in the same way.

“If you have 2,000 fans in one place, even in the UK, you’d get the police come in and sometimes when England have played abroad our fans have played up to it a bit.


“We just want to avoid that.

“I’m not going to tell the fans what to do but Qatar is a calm place.

“You just don’t hear shouting. You don’t see confrontation, they tend to be a very polite people.

“The potential for a misunderstanding is probably greater.

“But while there are very low levels of crime in Qatar, there are very high levels of CCTV compared to here so that chances of committing something and getting away with it are negligible.

“The Qataris want this to be a success and for people to come away having had a good time and not saying negative things.

England and Wales have both vowed to wear the “One Love” armband in Qatar although Fifa have still to give permission.

But FA of Wales head of international development Mark Evans said: “Even if Fifa say “no”, we will wear the armband. The players have spoken about it and agreed what we will do, even if that means us being fined.”

England fans have been advised by Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to be respectful in their visit to Qatar, but his statement prompted a backlash from LGBT fan groups who highlighted the fact homosexuality is outlawed in the country.

English activist Peter Thatchell was arrested in Qatar last week after staging a one-man protest to highlight the country’s treatment of LGBT people.

England’s WAGs have also been given a list of do’s and dont’s and told they must not drink alcohol or swear in public, play loud music, sing, shout or act “inappropriately” during the call to prayer.

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