ENGLAND fans will be forced to break the bank to follow the Three Lions at the World Cup in mega-wealthy Qatar.
Our investigation there shows supporters could end up splashing out more than £9,000 per night on a hotel.
And Qatar sells the most expensive beer in the world, with a pint of Heineken at £11.50. Wine is around £11 a glass.
Fans will also have to fork out on direct return flights costing £1,063 and £724 for match tickets.
Also, anyone caught boozing in public in the strict Middle East state faces six months’ jail.
And beer will only be available in special zones around stadiums and some venues elsewhere in the capital Doha. Fans will have to book hotel rooms to guarantee late-night pints.
Eight stadiums costing £5.2billion have been built and another £150billion has been spent on transport and general infrastructure for the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East.
But Qatar is only about the size of Yorkshire and may not be big enough to accommodate the 1.5million fans expected to flood in.
Most hotels are already sold out and prices for the few rooms still available for the tournament starting on November 21, such as at the Four Seasons in Doha, are soaring.
For those lucky enough to be there to follow manager Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions, the only place to buy “take home” booze is The Qatar Distribution Company — and customers need a special permit proving they are residents.
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3 Lions v Strictly
BBC chiefs will hold talks to tackle potential clashes between England’s World Cup games and Strictly Come Dancing.
The top show, with judge Shirley Ballas, could see audiences collapse if the Three Lions progress well.
The first clash would come if England play their Round 16 game on December 4.
A source said Strictly usually starts by 7.20pm “so a 7pm kick-off is a problem”.
We visited it and found that a black market trade was operating outside its front gates, with crates of beer being passed from one car boot to another — risking a jail sentence of at least six months.
Usually booze is only available in hotels but fans travelling to Qatar will at least be able to enjoy a pre-match pint after it was announced alcohol will be served in kiosks outside stadiums for ticket-holders and at other venues including Beach Clubs in Doha.
Qatar tourism chief Berthold Trenkel outlined the special measures that will be put in place during the tournament to let thirsty fans get a drink in the desert heat.
But he warned: “It will be different inside the actual stadiums. There will only be zero alcohol beer actually inside.”
The Beach Clubs are a late addition and a further sign of the country’s willingness to bend its normal rules and regulations for the duration of the tournament.
But expats warned fans could still be facing a “culture shock”.
Angela Norton and husband Chris, both 60, emigrated from Chester seven years ago so she could take a hospital job and he could enjoy his retirement.
She said: “There are lots of rules they won’t be aware of like the need for women to cover up in malls.
“If you wear shorts or a little dress you will get told off and the other women will spit at you.
“The cost of alcohol is so high that most expats only drink at happy hour between 5pm and 8pm where a pint of beer is still nearly £8.
“Drinking in public is banned and if you try, the police will turn up and take you to jail. There are CCTV cameras everywhere.”
Buying alcohol in corner shops, supermarkets and most restaurants is impossible. And the hotel booze prices are eye-watering.
Poor immigrant workers, and the 350,000 native Qataris forbidden from drinking under strict Islamic laws, can only consume the 0 per cent beer — or resort to illegal bootleg liquor.
It is often sold in industrial zones for £3 a litre but can contain butanol and pentanol, two industrial alcohols known to cause brain and eye damage.
But worker Faisal Ansari, 22, originally from Nepal, said: “The work is good. I have been here for two years and I will be supporting Qatar during the World Cup.”
The England squad, given an easy-looking draw on Friday for the group stage, are due to stay at Qatar’s alcohol-free Souq Al Wakra hotel — at the end of a maze of winding, narrow roads, next to a huge mosque.
They will train at a nearby stadium but there are concerns the lack of activities at the hotel, which does not even boast a swimming pool, will leave the players feeling restless and bored.
Ticket rule woe
EXCLUSIVE by Michael Hamilton
ENGLAND supporters hoping to fly to Qatar are being warned they will be allowed into the country only if they have match tickets.
Three Lions fans and, hopefully, Wales’ or Scotland’s depending on the play-offs, are planning their trips after Friday’s draw.
But Qatari government officials have said they must have tickets and official Fifa IDs — dashing the hopes of thousands planning on buying them after arriving.
Sources said Qatar, with a population of fewer than three million, was bringing in the policy because it did not have the accommodation capacity for ticketless fans.