World Cup 2022 host Qatar has introduced a 100 per cent tax on alcohol, a government official confirmed on Monday.
The ‘sin’ tax is being introduced just weeks after the conservative Muslim Gulf state announced in its annual budget statement that it would introduce a levy on ‘health-damaging goods’.
The policy was revealed by the Qatar Distribution Company, the country’s only alcohol store, in a 30-page list of new prices for beer, wines and spirits, citing the introduction of a 100 per cent ‘excise tax’.
Video footage shows huge queues outside the QDC’s alcohol shop in the capital Doha on New Year’s Eve.
The list was widely shared on social media and showed drinks doubling in price overnight, as it detailed charges which come into effect from January 1.
When asked if the document was genuine, a government spokesman told AFP: ‘it is true’.
With the new levy, a 100cl bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin will now cost 340 Qatari riyals ($93, £73) and a 75cl of Shiraz wine from South Africa will be sold for 86 riyals ($23, £18.5).
A 24-pack of Heineken 330ml beers will now cost 384 riyals ($105, £84).
It is legal to buy alcohol in Qatar with a permit, and also to drink in licenced bars, clubs and hotels – although drinking in public is banned.
The issue of alcohol is likely to be a sensitive subject in the run-up to the World Cup in four years’ time.
Tournament organisers in Qatar have said alcohol will be available for fans in designated areas, but not in public spaces, out of respect for the country’s traditions.