Alcohol sales banned around Qatar World Cup stadiums: FIFA

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Two female soccer fans take a selfie with a FIFA World Cup banner in Doha. AFP

FIFA and Qatar on Friday banned alcohol beer sales around the eight World Cup stadiums. The announcement comes two days before Sunday’s kickoff of the World Cup

Football’s world governing body said the decision was taken following “discussions” with the World Cup hosts.

“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,” a FIFA spokesperson said in the statement.

A FIFA statement said only that alcohol would be focused on fan zones, “removing sales points of beer from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters.”

Budweiser, a major World Cup sponsor, owned by beer maker AB InBev, was to exclusively sell alcoholic beer within the ticketed perimeter surrounding each of the eight stadiums three hours before and one hour after each game.

The stadium reversal comes after long-term negotiations between FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Budweiser, and executives from Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), which is organising the World Cup, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The SC did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment and FIFA did not confirm Infantino’s involvement.

“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 source said.

“The thinking was that, for many fans, the presence of alcohol would not create an enjoyable experience.”

Alcohol will be served inside the stadium hospitality zones, the source said.

“Fans can decide where they want to go without feeling uncomfortable. At stadiums, this was previously not the case,” the source said.

Reuters / AFP

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