Beer banned from all eight FIFA World Cup stadiums after Qatar royal family intervenes

Budweiser's inability to sell beer also means FIFA could find itself in breach of a multi-million dollar contract, as per reports.

Saurabh GangulyAuthor

Updated - 18 November 2022 05:46 PM

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Hours before the start of the FIFA World Cup 2022, in a dramatic U-turn, the sale of alcohol around all the eight stadiums that will host the tournament in Qatar has been banned. The tournament opener is set to be played between the hosts Qatar and Ecuador on Sunday.

While initially the organisers had announced that beer will be served only in the designated areas, it has now been confirmed that the sale of alcohol has completely been banned inside the stadium premises.

"These have been long-term discussions, and the overall feeling from everyone involved was that the stadiums need to be for everyone," a source close to the development was quoted as saying in a Sky Sports report.

"This World Cup is different to others in that 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. The thinking was that, for many fans, the presence of alcohol would not create an enjoyable experience," the source added.

It is also being reported that Qatar's all-powerful Al Thani royal family might have had a role to play in this decision amid discussions between FIFA and Budweiser, one of FIFA's biggest sponsors.

Budweiser's inability to sell beer also means FIFA could find itself in breach of a multi-million dollar contract, as per reports.

Notably, the sale of alcohol is under strict control in Qatar. It is in fact allowed only in designated hotel bars and restaurants. This is because Qatar is a Muslim country that practices teetotalism.

While initially Qatar had allowed some restrictions to this policy to ensure Budweiser is able to see beer outside match venues, the recent update takes a drastic turn from that narrative.

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