The Qatari government has announced that fans will not be able to buy alcohol inside any of the World Cup stadiums.
The shock announcement made just two days before the tournament starts, has left the main alcohol sponsor Budweiser up in arms. The beer bought the rights to be the only alcoholic supplier inside the stadiums.
In a statement released by FIFA on Friday, soccer’s governing body said that the decision followed “discussions between the host country authorities and FIFA”.
Business Insider reports that it is understood 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.
FIFA has 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.”
Budweiser has not released a statement yet, but has tweeted from its main worldwide account on Friday: “Well, this is awkward.” The post has since been deleted.
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