Qatar set to ban alcohol gross sales in FIFA world cup stadiums

A basic view of Al Thumama stadium forward of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on November 14, 2022, in Doha, Qatar.
| Picture Credit score: FIFA through Getty Photographs

FIFA World Cup organizers will ban the sale of all beer with alcohol on the eight stadiums used for the soccer match, an individual with information of the choice instructed The Related Press.

The choice comes solely two days earlier than video games begin in Qatar and 12 years after the nation first consented to respect FIFA’s industrial companions.

Non-alcoholic beer will nonetheless be out there for followers on the 64 matches, the individual stated.

The individual spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of organizers haven’t but introduced the choice.

Champagne, wine, whiskey, and different alcohol remains to be anticipated to be served within the hospitality areas of the stadiums. Exterior of these locations, beer is generally the one alcohol bought to common ticket holders.

Ronan Evain, the chief director of the fan group Soccer Supporters Europe, referred to as the choice to ban beer gross sales on the stadiums “extremely worrying.”

“For many fans, whether they don’t drink alcohol or are used to dry stadium policies at home, this is a detail. It won’t change their tournament,” Evain wrote on Twitter. “But with 48 (hours) to go, we’ve clearly entered a dangerous territory — where ‘assurances’ don’t matter anymore.”

Whereas a sudden resolution like this may increasingly appear excessive within the West, Qatar is an autocracy ruled by a hereditary emir, who has absolute say over all governmental selections.

Qatar, an energy-rich Gulf Arab nation, follows an ultraconservative type of Islam generally known as Wahhabism like neighboring Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, alcohol gross sales have been permitted in lodge bars for years.

Qatar’s authorities and its Supreme Committee for Supply and Legacy didn’t instantly reply to request for remark.

Already, the match has seen Qatar change the date of the opening match solely weeks earlier than the World Cup started.

Budweiser’s guardian firm, AB InBev, pays tens of tens of millions of {dollars} at every World Cup for unique rights to promote beer and has already shipped nearly all of its inventory from Britain to Qatar in expectation of promoting its product to tens of millions of followers. The corporate’s partnership with FIFA began on the 1986 match and they’re in negotiations for renewing their deal for the following World Cup in North America.

When Qatar launched its bid to host the World Cup, the nation agreed to FIFA’s necessities of promoting alcohol in stadiums, and once more when signing contracts after profitable the vote in 2010.

On the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the host nation was pressured to alter a regulation to permit alcohol gross sales in stadiums.

AB InBev’s cope with FIFA was renewed in 2011 — after Qatar was picked as host — in a two-tournament package deal by means of 2022. Nonetheless, the Belgium-based brewer has confronted uncertainty in current months on the precise particulars of the place it may well serve and promote beer in Qatar.

An settlement was introduced in September for beer with alcohol to be bought inside the stadium perimeters earlier than and after video games. Solely alcohol-free Bud Zero can be bought within the stadium concourses for followers to drink of their seats in branded cups.

Final weekend, AB InBev was left stunned by a brand new coverage insisted on by Qatari organizers to maneuver beer stalls to much less seen areas inside the perimeter.

Budweiser was additionally to be bought within the evenings solely on the official FIFA fan zone in downtown Al Bidda Park, the place as much as 40,000 followers can collect to look at video games on big screens. The value was confirmed as $14 for a beer.

Ab InBev didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The corporate can be primarily based at an upscale lodge within the West Bay space of Doha with its personal branded nightclub for the match.

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