No beer to be sold to fans in stadiums at Qatar World Cup 2022

Alcohol-free Bud Zero will still be available at stadiums, said FIFA.

Lean Jinghui | November 19, 2022, 12:03 PM

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In an about-turn, FIFA said on Friday, Nov. 18, that beer will not be sold to fans around any of Qatar's eight World Cup stadiums, following discussions with the host country.

Announcement made two days before

The announcement comes just two days before the kick-off of the World Cup on Sunday, Nov. 20.

According to The Guardian, organisers had originally promised beer would be available in match venues and in fan zones, and that the beverage would be reasonably priced.

However, in its statement on Nov. 18, FIFA said otherwise in an announcement:

"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."

Bud Zero, which is alcohol-free, will remain available at all Qatar World Cup stadiums.

According to The Guardian, beer would still be available at matches but only in "hospitality boxes", where the cheapest suites are almost £20,000 (about S$32,737) a match.

The decision was reportedly taken after Qatar, as the host nation decided that "everyone inside World Cup stadiums had to feel comfortable", and that this would not be the case if fans were seen drinking alcohol or turned up drunk, reported the British newspaper.

A source had also told Reuters that a large number of fans from across the Middle East and South Asia would be attending the World Cup, and that for these fans, "alcohol doesn't play such a large role in the culture".

The World Cup 2022 is the first to be held in a Muslim country with strict controls on alcohol, the consumption of which is banned in public.

Budweiser, which has exclusive rights to sell beer at the tournament, reportedly pays US$75 million (S$103 million) every four years to be the World Cup's official alcohol sponsor.

There appeared to be some support for the reversal on social media, which pointed out that Qatar was a Muslim country where alcohol is prohibited.

Others, however, questioned Qatar's ability to uphold their promises as host nation for the World Cup, especially after some fans might have already purchased tickets for the tournament start date.

Top images via FIFA Facebook and Budweiser Facebook