Qatar bans sale of beer at World Cup 2022 stadiums 48 hours before tournament
Just two days before the FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatari officials have decided to ban the sale of alcohol to fans at the stadiums during the month-long tournament.
In what is expected to spark massive outrage among football fans travelling to Doha for the FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatari officials have decided to ban the sale of beer and alcohol at the stadiums during the month-long showpiece event.
According to the New York Times, quoting an official familiar with the development, only non-alcoholic drinks will now be available at the eight stadiums set to host the glittering event. The report added that a formal announcement is expected on Friday.
The decision is the most recent and significant modification to an evolving alcohol plan that has been causing friction between FIFA and Qatar, a devout Muslim country where the sale of alcohol is strictly regulated, for months.
However, it will also make FIFA's 75 million-dollar sponsorship deal with Budweiser more difficult, enrage supporters who already dislike limitations, and force tournament administrators to make last-minute changes with only 48 hours before the first game.
It also implied that FIFA, which has endured years of scathing criticism for its choice to hold its tournament in Qatar, could no longer have complete authority over important decisions pertaining to the showpiece event.
Tickets holders will have access to Budweiser, Budweiser Zero, and Coca-Cola products within the stadium perimeter for at least three hours prior to games and for one hour following them, according to the organization's official fan guide.
The prohibition on alcohol sales to fans at stadiums comes a week after a directive ordering the relocation of dozens of red beer tents with Budweiser branding to more secluded locations at the World Cup's eight stadiums, away from where the majority of crowds attending games would pass. Beer will still be available in luxury suites reserved for FIFA officials and other wealthy guests.
Since receiving the FIFA World Cup 2022 hosting rights in 2010, the Gulf nation of Qatar has struggled with the issue of alcohol.
Alcohol is sold in the nation, but sales are severely regulated; most visitors were only allowed to purchase beer and other alcoholic beverages at posh hotel bars and at abnormally high costs before the glittering football tournament.
Beer sales have often been a contentious issue at World Cups, but this week, organisers in Qatar tried to downplay it by claiming that operational plans were still being completed and that "the location of certain fan areas" was constantly changing. In addition, it stated that all eight stadiums had the same "pouring times and the number of pouring destinations".
Budweiser's red tents may no longer be seen at all surrounding stadiums under the most recent plan, which calls for unbranded white equivalents. The company's renowned red refrigerators are expected to be replaced by blue models since blue is the colour of Budweiser Zero, the company's nonalcoholic brand.