Fifa confirms alcohol will be banned around stadiums at World Cup

Cans of Budweiser beer featuring the FIFA World Cup logo are displayed in Doha on November 18, 2022 ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament. - The sale of alcohol in Qatar is strictly regulated. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
Cans of Budweiser beer featuring the FIFA World Cup logo are displayed in Doha (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

The sale of alcohol to fans at World Cup stadiums in Qatar has been banned with just two days to go until the tournament kicks off.

They will no longer be able to buy Budweiser, which would have been the only alcoholic beverage available to fans due to its sponsorship of FIFA.

Now no one attending matches will be able to consume alcohol within the stadium perimeter, with the exception of corporate spectators.

FIFA released a statement on Friday confirming the removal of sales points of beer from the stadium perimeters ‘following discussions between the host country authorities and FIFA’.

It is thought Qatar, as hosts, are concerned about the impact of alcohol sales on fans for whom drinking is not part of the culture – not just Qataris but people from other parts of the Middle East and Asia more widely.

Supporters will still be able to consume alcohol in designated fan zones, but the incident throws into question the degree to which FIFA has control over the tournament.

Budweiser beer kiosks are pictured at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 18, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament. - The sale of alcohol in Qatar is strictly regulated. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP) (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)
Budweiser beer kiosks are pictured at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

Budweiser beer kiosks are pictured at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 18, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament. - The sale of alcohol in Qatar is strictly regulated. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP) (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)
The sale of alcohol in Qatar is strictly regulated (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

It will have an unhappy sponsor on its hands in Budweiser. The brewing company is reported to pay FIFA around £62.86m every four years to be one of its top-level partners, and it will be interesting to see what impact this has on the commercial deal.

The company tweeted from its main account on Friday: ‘Well, this is awkward’ – a post which was then deleted.

The Football Supporters’ Association criticised the lateness of the decision and accused organisers of a ‘total lack of communication’.

‘Some fans like a beer at a game and some don’t, but the real issue is the last minute U-turn which speaks to a wider problem – the total lack of communication and clarity from the organising committee towards supporters,’ a spokesperson said.

‘If they can change their minds on this at a moment’s notice, with no explanation, supporters will have understandable concerns about whether they will fulfil other promises relating to accommodation, transport or cultural issues.’

Editorial Use Only Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Zemanek/Shutterstock (13622604ct) Budweiser branding during the training session, Al Sadd SC Stadium, Al Nadi St, Doha, Qatar Previews and Training, FIFA World Cup 2022, Football, Qatar - 17 Nov 2022
Budweiser is reported to pay FIFA around £62.86m every four years to be one of its top-level partners (Picture: Michael Zemanek/Shutterstock)

FIFA said in a statement: ‘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.

‘There is no impact to the sale of Bud Zero which will remain available at all Qatar’s World Cup stadiums.

‘Host country authorities and FIFA will continue to ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide an enjoyable, respectful and pleasant experience for all fans.

‘The tournament organisers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continuous support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.’

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