Qatar World Cup 2022: Fans can survive without beer, says FIFA chief Gianni Infantino
'If this is the biggest issue we have now, I will go to the beach and relax until December 18,' FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.
Even as Qatar received flak from football fans for its decision to ban sale of beer at FIFA World Cup stadiums, the football body's chief Gianni Infantino on Saturday said that the
The remarks are bound to further infuriate fans who have been critical of Qatar's last-minute decision. However, the FIFA president quipped: 'If this is the biggest issue we have now, I will go to the beach and relax until December 18.'
Infantino's remark came a day after FIFA said the decision to remove sales points of beer from Qatar World Cup stadium perimeters was taken after discussions between the host country. FIFA further said that the sale of alcoholic beverages would be available at the FIFA Fan Festival, other licensed venues and fan destinations.
FIFA justified Doha's decision on the grounds that it will ensure that stadiums and surrounding areas provide a respectable, enjoyable and pleasant experience to fans.
To note, Budweiser is the Qatar World Cup 2022 sponsor. The American firm initially put out a Twitter post saying, 'Well, this is awkward'. It later deleted the post and put out a statement that said that some circumstances were beyond its control.
Dismissing recent criticism of FIFA for allegedly ignoring the issue of migrant workers in Qatar and not being in control of its marquee event, Infantino said: 'This moral lesson giving is just hypocrisy.' His ire was directed at fans from some European nations that had not done enough in terms of migrant worker reforms but were still criticising Qatar.
As for whether Qatar hosting the World Cup made financial sense, the FIFA chief declared that the 2022 event would generate around $700 million more than past tournaments.
To recall, Qatar agreed to FIFA's requirements of selling alcohol in stadiums when it launched its bid to host the tournament. When the ball gets rolling on Sunday, only non-alcoholic beer will still be sold at the eight stadiums. Wine, champagne, whiskey and other types of alcohol would only be served in the luxury hospitality areas of the arenas.