Qatar bans beer at World Cup stadiums

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Nov. 18 (UPI) — Despite Budweiser being a major sponsor, there will be no beer sold at Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadiums.

FIFA announced the ban in a statement just days before the tournament.

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“Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus on 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,” FIFA said.

In response, Budweiser tweeted Friday morning, ‘Well, this is awkward…” and then deleted the tweet. Budweiser is paying $75 million to sponsor the World Cup.

Bud Zero, an alcohol-free brew, will still be sold at Qatar’s World Cup stadiums.

A statement from the Football Supporter’s Association criticized the last-minute decision, saying that while some fans like beer and some don’t, the real issue here is the U-turn on alcohol sales and the lack of communication and clarity from the organizing committee towards fans.

“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 fulfill other promises relating to accommodation, transport or cultural issues,” FSA said.

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Qatar, unlike Saudi Arabia, does not entirely ban alcohol but consuming alcohol in public in Qatar is illegal.

Qatar had at first relaxed its alcohol restrictions to allow Budweiser to sell alcoholic beverages at the Qatar World Cup, allowing parent company Anheuser-Busch Inbev to renew its contract with FIFA through 2022.

FIFA’s statement on the alcohol ban said the tournament organizers “appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continuous support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”