FIFA officials have announced the COVID policy for international fans attending this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

All visitors aged six and above must show a negative PCR test to enter the country, taken no earlier than 48 hours prior to departure, the rules state.

Fans aged over 18 are also required to download an app on arrival to confirm they do not have the virus, in order to gain entry to public closed indoor spaces.

People arriving in Qatar will not be asked to quarantine but will be told to isolate if they test positive during their stay.

The official guidance on the Qatar 2022 website also states masks will be mandatory on public transport and in healthcare facilities during the competition, which begins on 20 November.

Qatar will kick off against Ecuador for the opening match at the Al Bayt Stadium in the northeastern province of Al Khor.

England will face Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in capital Doha the following day, 21 November.

Gareth Southgate’s squad will then go up against the USA on 25 November before facing Wales four days later on 29 November.

Meanwhile Wales will play the USA on 21 November then Iran on 25 November.

The Qatar World Cup will be the shortest in history, with the final being held on 18 December.

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Qatar 2022: What you need to know

Dogged by more than a decade of controversy

This year’s World Cup has attracted controversy ever since Qatar was awarded the event by FIFA, the world football governing body, in 2010 – amid allegations of bribery and corruption including “secret payments” to help the desert state win its bid.

A former FIFA inspector branded the decision “a mistake” and expressed fears for the health of fans and players if the World Cup was hosted during the summer months – when temperatures in Qatar can soar past 40C.

FIFA awarded Qatar the contract despite official Harold Mayne-Nicholls warning that playing in the country during the summer would be “impossible” – and the tournament was later moved to the winter.

Qatar has also faced ongoing criticism over its human rights record, with organisations including Amnesty International accusing it of failing to protect migrant workers.

It follows a dispute over the number of migrant workers who died while building stadiums and facilities for the tourmanent.

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Inside a Qatar World Cup locker room

More than 6,000 deaths have been recorded in the Gulf state since Qatar was awarded the World Cup – but authorities claim just three workers died while construction was taking place and insisted the numbers published were “inaccurate”.

Teams have rallied against the regime in Qatar, with Denmark unveiling a black kit in protest over human rights violations.

Supplier Hummel shared the kit on Instagram along with the caption: “Black. The colour of mourning. The perfect colour for Denmark’s third shirt for this year’s World Cup.

“While we support the Danish national team all the way, this shouldn’t be confused with support for a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives.

“We wish to make a statement about Qatar’s human rights record and treatment of migrant workers that have built the country’s World Cup stadiums.”

Meanwhile England’s Harry Kane and football captains from nine other nations including the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales, will wear anti-discrimination armbands in Qatar.

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‘Southgate should pick words carefully’

But tournament chief executive Nasser al Khater said Qatar had been “unfairly treated and scrutinised”.

Mr al Khater also said players who wanted to protest would be free to do so – and insisted LGBTQ+ fans are welcome despite homosexuality being illegal – as he responded to criticism of his country’s human rights record.

Officials are also said to have conscripted civilians and diplomats from abroad to assist with the security operation at the World Cup – including managing stadium queues, frisking fans and searching for drugs, alcohol and weapons.

They have been warned it is their “patriotic duty” to help – as many fear the consequences if they refuse to comply.


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