FIFA has confirmed the ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages in stadiums during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
This announcement comes two days before the start of the tournament.
“Following discussions between the host country authorities and FIFA, a decision was taken to focus on the sale of alcoholic beverages at the FIFA Fan Fest, other fan destinations and licensed venues, and to remove beer sales points from the vicinity of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar stadium,” FIFA said in its statement.
Budweiser Sponsorship Agreement
The decision could lead to legal action from one of FIFA’s sponsors, Budweiser.
The alcohol company has a $75 million (1.3 billion rand) sponsorship agreement with FIFA.
In a now-deleted tweet, the beer brand posted, “Well, that’s embarrassing…”.
In its statement, FIFA added, “There is no impact on the sale of the Pod Zero which will remain available at all World Cup stadiums in Qatar,” which is likely to be inconvenient for most fans traveling in Qatar.
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World Cup organizers had previously promised that alcohol would be sold at stadiums and in fan areas during the tournament.
The shift in this decision reportedly came after FIFA came under pressure from the royal family of Qatar.
Although alcohol is illegal in Qatar, it is strictly controlled by the conservative Islamic nation. Alcohol is not allowed in public places.
Despite the ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages, beer, wine and champagne will continue to be served in the luxury suites inside the stadiums, which are often the seat of distinguished guests and FIFA officials.
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The latest decision comes after Budweiser was asked to move its beer tents to parts further from the World Cup stadiums, away from most foot traffic.
It was also very expensive for fans to buy an alcoholic drink, with a beer running at £11 (about R225) or more.