Beer and all alcoholic beverages are prohibited in Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup
QATAR: The FIFA World Cup will be hosted by Qatar, but the government has prohibited beer and alcohol.
Who made this unexpected decision?
The decision is made, according to the organization that governs football worldwide, after “discussions” with the World Cup hosts, an Islamic nation that strongly prohibits alcohol use. The unexpected decision was not explained, although media sources indicated that Qatar’s royal family had intervened.
Impact on Sponsorship
Fan organizations warned that the decision might have an impact on FIFA’s sponsorship agreement with big beer manufacturer AB InBev, while the hosts’ other pledges to the fans should also cause worry.
Beer sales store will be removed
Only that alcohol would be restricted to fan zones and that “beer sales terminals will be removed from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters” were mentioned in the FIFA announcement.
Qatar is being criticized
The action increased criticism of Qatar, which was already under fire for its record on human rights. The Football Supporters Association in England stated that “the actual issue is the last-minute U-turn which points to a bigger problem the complete lack of communication and transparency from the organizing committee towards supporters.”
“Supporters will have valid complaints about whether they will fulfil other pledges pertaining to accommodations, transportation, or cultural challenges if they can change their minds about this at any time, without explanation.”
Before the opening game on Sunday between Qatar and Ecuador, dozens of beer tents had already been built up at the stadiums.
More than a million fans are expecting to travel to Qatar
Over a million fans are expected to travel to Qatar for the 29-day World Cup, according to estimates made by Qatar, which has spent tens of billions of dollars preparing for the event.
But the harsh cultural laws there have drawn criticism from throughout the world.
Naser Al-Khater, the chief executive remarks on alcohol ban
Naser Al-Khater, the chief executive of the organizing committee, claimed in September that one of the “unfair” comments Qatar has received related to the availability of alcohol. At the time, he stated, “I believe that there is a misunderstanding surrounding the sale of alcohol at the stadiums.
We are conducting business exactly the same as we would at any other World Cup; nothing special or unusual is taking place. It would be “business as usual,” he declared.
The sole beer offered at official venues is Budweiser, for which FIFA has a sponsorship agreement with AB InBev worth tens of millions of dollars annually.
Both the organizing committee and the government of Qatar remained silent for the time being.
According to the British publication The Times, the emir’s family, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, intervened to influence the decision.
According to the New York Times, “World Cup staff workers have informed the change followed security advice,” although it is thought the choice was made by a sheik’s brother who has influence over daily policy.
VIP areas will be served by Alcohol
Beer will continue to be served by the global organization in VIP areas of stadiums, in the main FIFA fan zone in Doha, in a few other fan zones, and in roughly 35 hotel and restaurant bars.