The 2022 FIFA World Cup is fast approaching and as England fans are getting ready to make the trip to the Middle East, they have been warned against disrespecting Qatari culture and its strict Islamic laws. As part of this, travelling fans were told not to hold hands in public, even those who are there with their partners from the opposite sex.

It has long been a source of outrage when it was revealed that Qatar will host this year's World Cup due to the country's criminalisation of same-sex relationships. The Qatari ambassador to the UK previously said that same-sex couples must not kiss in public, but he did say that holding hands is not a problem.

However, the UK Foreign Office has gone for the conservative route, and has decided to issue an advisory telling England fans not to hold hands in public in order to avoid provoking local authorities.

According to The Sun, the UK is determined to avoid facing any security issues that could lead to a diplomatic crisis during the event. Special "engagement officers" will be deployed to act as a buffer between local authorities and England fans in order to "de-escalate" any issues that may arise.

Qatar has also prepared for the influx of foreign fans by bringing in extra security personnel from Turkey and Pakistan. However, the UK does not want to take any chances.

Cheshire Chief Constable Mark Roberts, confirmed that British forces will be in the country to calm things down and make sure that there are no clashes between England fans and local authorities. He said that they are not there to tell people what to do, but they want to make sure that supporters are kept safe.

"So if we see there's something that may cause a problem we can go and try to de-escalate the situation," he said.

Roberts also admitted that they are fully familiar with how football fans like to gather publicly to party and get drunk. While alcohol sales are restricted only to certain venues in Qatar, there is still no way of knowing how the fans will behave once they are in the heat of the competition.

"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," he added.

Roberts also warned that those who end up breaking any laws will find it difficult to get away with it. Therefore, stern warnings are being given ahead of time to make sure fans know how to behave.

Meanwhile, the LGBTQ+ community is still up in arms over the fact that the host country has strict laws against same-sex relations. However, both England and Wales captains have agreed to wear "One Love" armbands during the event in solidarity with the community. FIFA has not approved this, and it remains to be seen if any fines or penalties will be imposed upon the teams.

FIFA World Cup Qatar
Captains from a number of leading European football nations will wear armbands with the message 'One Love' in an anti-discrimination campaign during the World Cup AFP / ANDRE PAIN