Wayne Hennessey hopes Qatar’s stadium alcohol ban won’t affect the atmosphere at Wales’ World Cup games.
The so-called red wall – 3,000 of whom are expected in Doha for Wales’ first World Cup appearance in 64 years – won the ‘outstanding contribution’ award at Euro 2016 and is among the most enthusiasts on the international scene.
But no one attending the matches will be able to consume alcohol within the perimeter of the stadium, with the exception of company spectators, following a decision just two days before the kick-off of the tournament.
It is understood the hosts are concerned about the impact of alcohol sales on fans for whom drinking is not part of the culture – not just Qataris but people from other parts of the Middle East and Asia wider.
Budweiser, which would have been the only alcoholic drink available to fans due to its FIFA sponsorship, was to be on sale in stadiums during the tournament.
Asked if the alcohol ban would impact the atmosphere created by Wales supporters, Hennessey said: “I hope it doesn’t.
“Wales fan support is our 12th man so hopefully that doesn’t distract them in any way.”
Hennessey and fellow Wales goalkeepers Danny Ward and Adam Davies have become familiar with the official 2022 World Cup ball since the team got together.
The “Al Rihla”, which means “the journey” in Arabic, has bright and vibrant colors on a pearly background.
“We’ve had it now for a couple of practice sessions,” Hennessey said. “They keep changing patterns and colors.
“So for us it’s about seeing and training as much as possible, and that’s probably the best answer I can give you on that.”
Ward said: “It’s football, you still have to do your day job. Still need to get behind.
“We will do the work on the grass and try to get used to it.
“But it doesn’t matter what ball it is. You always have to do your job and try to keep him out of the back of the net.
Hennessey is likely to start in Wales’ opener against the United States on Monday after appearing as man of the match in the World Cup play-off final against Ukraine in June.
He has made nine saves, the most in European World Cup qualifying without conceding, but has only played twice for Nottingham Forest since leaving Burnley last summer.
Ward, on the other hand, has had plenty of playing time since taking over from Kasper Schmeichel as Leicester’s number one and has been in fine form with six clean sheets in his last eight Premier League appearances.
Hennessey said: “All of us here are in good shape. This number one jersey is up for grabs.
“It’s a healthy decision, a good decision to make from a manager’s point of view. We will see.”
Ward changed his form after Leicester’s rocky start to the season and spoke about the Foxes’ revival.
He said: “We knew it would be a matter of time before we built up our confidence levels and got back to the standard we had set over the past few years.
“Fortunately, we have come a long way to get back there.”
On the World Cup, he added: “We love it. This is what we wanted for so long. We have kept incredible memories of the Euros and hope that it will be the same in Qatar.
. wayne hennessey hope ban alcohol won’t have no impact on atmosphere of matches country wales