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Alcohol banned at Qatar FIFA World Cup stadiums

By Rediff Sports
Last updated on: November 18, 2022 17:41 IST
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 Beer maker Budweiser is a major FIFA World Cup sponsor

IMAGE: Beer maker Budweiser is a major FIFA World Cup sponsor. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

World football governing body FIFA confirmed on Friday that no alcoholic beer will not be sold at Qatar's World Cup stadiums.

"Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing sales points of beer from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters," a FIFA spokesperson said in the statement.

"Tournament organisers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continuous support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the FIFA World Cup," the statement said.

This comes two days before the kickoff of the Qatar World Cup, the first to be hosted in a Middle Eastern nation.

Just a few days back it seemed like Qatar, which has strict controls on alcohol, would relax their laws for the football extravaganza as consuming alcohol in public places is illegal in the Gulf country.

 

It was reported by Reuters that major World Cup sponsor Budweiser has exclusive rights to sell beer at the finals and will serve its products at the 40,000 capacity FIFA Fan Fest in central Doha's Al Bidda Park.

The beer maker would also serve beer within the ticketed perimeter surrounding each stadium. But since the ban, Qatar will only sell non-alcoholic beverages at the World Cup.

Budweiser's parent company, AB InBev, pays tens of millions of dollars at each World Cup for exclusive rights to sell beer. The company's partnership with FIFA started at the 1986 tournament. 

When Qatar launched its bid to host the World Cup, the country agreed to respect FIFA's commercial partners, and again when signing contracts after winning the vote in 2010. AB InBev's deal with FIFA was renewed in 2011 -- after Qatar was picked as host --  in a two-tournament package through 2022.

This is not the first time that Qatar has made the football world governing body cow down to it. 

Qatar had also asked FIFA to change the dates of the opening ceremony. The opening ceremony was originally to be held before Qatar's match on November 21 against Ecuador but the hosts will now make their World Cup debut against Ecuador on November 20 at 1900 local time after an opening ceremony at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium.

This means, the Group A match between Senegal and Netherlands, originally scheduled to be the tournament opener, has been pushed back by six hours from 1300 local time on November 21 to the 1900 slot vacated by Qatar vs Ecuador. England's Group B match with Iran and the USA's opener against Wales, which are also scheduled for November 21, remain unaffected by the change.

 

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