Iran government supporters confront protesters at World Cup

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Tensions ran high at Iran’s second match at the World Cup on Friday as fans supporting the Iranian government harassed those protesting against it and stadium security seized flags, T-shirts and other items expressing support for the protest movement. that has gripped the Islamic Republic. Some fans were stopped by … Read more

Israeli-Palestinian conflict catches up with Qatar World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — It was uncharted territory for the Israeli journalist. Wandering through the rustic outdoor marketplace in Doha before the start of the World Cup, he zeroed in on a Qatari man in his traditional headdress and white flowing robe and asked for an interview. “Which channel?” the Qatari asked. The journalist replied … Read more

Remote desert camps house World Cup fans on a budget

AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) — For scores of foreign soccer fans, the road to the World Cup in Doha starts every morning at a barren campsite in the middle of the desert. Visitors who found hotels in central Doha booked up or far beyond their budget have settled for the faraway, dust-blown tent village in … Read more

EXPLAINER: Islam’s ban on alcohol and how it’s applied

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Just two days before the World Cup opener, host nation Qatar banned the sale of beer at stadiums in a sudden U-turn that was criticized by some and welcomed by others. Qatari officials have long said they were eager to welcome soccer fans from around the world to the tournament but … Read more

World Cup teams nix armbands that were seen as snub to Qatar

DOHA, Qatar — FIFA’s threat of on-field punishment for players pushed World Cup teams to back down Monday and abandon a plan for their captains to wear armbands that were seen as a rebuke to host nation Qatar’s human rights record. Just hours before the first players wearing the armbands in support of the “One … Read more

Qatar’s World Cup opener shows its reemergence after boycott

AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) — Qatar opened the Middle East’s first World Cup on Sunday with its ruler sitting next to the leaders of two Arab countries that only a year and a half earlier had been part of a boycott trying to bring the energy- rich nation to its knees. No leaders of major … Read more

Infantino scolds World Cup critics in extraordinary diatribe

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Gianni Infantino said he feels gay. That he feels like a woman. That he feels like a migrant worker. He lectured Europeans for criticizing Qatar’s human rights record and defended the host country’s last-minute decision to ban beer from World Cup stadiums. The FIFA president delivered a one-hour tirade on the … Read more

Soccer-mad Germans turning their backs on World Cup

BERLIN (AP) — Normally when the World Cup comes around, Germans happily wave their country’s flag and enthusiastically support their team. Not this time. Anyone walking around Berlin this week will struggle to notice any signs of World Cup fervor. There are no flags, no signs, no public viewing events – no indication that the … Read more

Qatar bans sale of beer at World Cup stadiums in about-face

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatar banned the sale of beer at World Cup stadiums on Friday, a sudden U-turn on the deal the conservative Muslim emirate made to secure the soccer tournament with only two days to go before the opening game. The move was the latest sign of the tension of staging the event, … Read more

Culture clash? Conservative Qatar prepares for World Cup party

On the Instagram accounts of fashion models and superstars last month, the sheikhdom of Qatar looked like one glittering party. High-heeled designers descended on exhibition openings and fashion shows in downtown Doha. Celebrities, including a prominent gay rights campaigner, snapped selfies on a pulsating dance floor. “As-salaam ‘alykum Doha!” Dutch model Marpessa Hennink proclaimed on … Read more