FIFA confirms Qatar bans alcohol at all World Cup stadiums

Just two days before the World Cup begins in Qatar, Football’s world governing body FIFA confirmed that no alcohol would be sold at the eight stadiums which will host the tournament’s 64 matches.

“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 perimeter,” said the FIFA statement.

Non-alcoholic beer will still be available to all fans.

“A larger number of fans are attending from across the Middle East and South Asia, where alcohol doesn’t play such a large role in the culture,” an inside source told the Reuters news agency shortly before the official announcement.

FIFA said event organizers were hoping to “ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide an enjoyable, respectful, and pleasant experience for all fans.”

The move reverse an agreement to sell beer to football fans in specific areas and at specific times, in a country where alcohol is heavily controlled and off-limits to most of the population.

In September, the organizing committee chief executive Naser Al-Khater said that the sale of beer at Qatar’s stadiums would be “no different than any other World Cup.”

The move puts Fifa on a collision course with American brewery Budweiser which has a sponsorship deal with FIFA worth roughly $75 million (€72 million), giving it the exclusive right to sell beer at the event.

It has been a major sponsor of every World Cup tournament since 1986.

Budweiser released a statement following the announcement, saying the restrictions were “beyond our control.”

In Qatar, Budweiser had planned to sell alcohol within the ticketed perimeter of the eight World Cup stadiums for a window spanning three hours before each game until one hour after each game.

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