HerGameToo campaign manager Ellie Molloson admitted she had some reservations about visiting Qatar, according to The Times.
“I’ve got to say coming here has been a real shock to my system,” the 19-year-old told The Times. “There have been no catcalls, wolf whistles or sexism of any kind.”
This comes despite the fact that Qatar has received intensified scrutiny over alleged “discrimination” against women.
However, it appears that many female spectators have found the stadiums to be friendlier and more welcoming than they might have anticipated, especially given the carefully orchestrated atmosphere of this World Cup.
Along with Molloson, many other British female fans now think that this World Cup should serve as a template for soccer matches and culture back in the UK.
“I had all these preconceived notions about what I would encounter,” said Molloson. “The reality has been nothing like that. I’ve not experienced any of the harassment I have experienced in England. I don’t know how they have achieved that but it’s an amazing environment to experience.”
Her father, whom she asked to come along with her following her initial fears, said: “I came out primarily to look after Ellie and frankly I needn’t have bothered.”
Molloson is not the only one. Jo Glover has been attending World Cup finals since South Africa in 2010.
“The atmosphere here feels less tribal. Everyone is wearing their (team) colours and there is no hassle,” she told the British newspaper.
Many still recall the rowdy yobs who caused chaos at Wembley stadium, when England advanced to the Euro 2020 final in July.
The absence of hooliganism in Qatar, according to a senior British police officer, is proof that the government shouldn’t relax its prohibitions on alcohol at football stadiums.
The atmosphere in Qatar, according to Chief Constable Mark Roberts, who oversees football policing in the UK, was “passionate but friendly”, much like it was during the summer finals of the women’s Euro 2022 tournament.
The UK government is thinking about removing the senior leagues’ 36-year-old ban on alcohol consumption in the stadiums. According to Roberts, the UK should “drop ideas of reintroducing alcohol in the stands” in light of the fan experience in Qatar.
The absence of alcohol doesn’t affect the pleasant buzz or the relaxed atmosphere, which is a good thing, he added.
Women are noticing the difference everywhere, not just in the stands.