July 12, 2024

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Qatar bans the sale of beer in World Cup stadiums

DOHA, Qatar – The beer is out at the World Cup.

In a surprising shift, Qatari officials have decided that the only alcohol that will be sold to fans in stadiums during the month-long World Cup will be non-alcoholic.

The decision on beer sales was confirmed Friday morning by a World Cup official familiar with the change in plans. The official asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media, and because Qatar is still preparing for its official announcement on Friday morning.

This move is the latest and greatest change in Advanced alcohol plan For several months, this heightened tensions between FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, and Qatar, the conservative Islamic country where the sale of alcohol is tightly controlled. But he will also have a $75 million FIFA sponsorship agreement with Budweiser; pissing off fans who are already getting angry at the restrictions; And once again the organizers are left to scramble to adapt – this time with just 48 hours before the opening game of the tournament.

But it also indicated that FIFA, which has faced years of intense criticism for its decision to bring the remarkable tournament to Qatar, may no longer be in full control of key decisions related to the event. the organization Official fan guide It notes that “ticket holders will have access to Budweiser, Budweiser Zero and Coca-Cola products within the perimeter of the stadium” for at least three hours before matches and for an hour afterwards.

Qatar has grappled with the topic of alcohol since the tiny Gulf state was awarded the rights to host the World Cup in 2010. Alcohol is available in the country, but sales are strictly controlled; Most visitors, even before the World Cup, were only allowed to buy beer and other alcoholic beverages in high-end hotel bars at unusually high prices.

World Cup organizers declined to comment on the new alcohol scheme on Friday.

Representatives for Budweiser, who said last week they were surprised by previous changes Qatar made to their World Cup sales strategy, did not respond to requests for comment.

Last week, the country’s organizers tried to downplay growing tension over beer sales, a World Cup fixture for generations, by saying operational plans were still being worked out, and changes were still being made to “the locations of some fan areas”. Its statement also noted that “flow times and the number of flow destinations” remained the same across all eight stadiums.

Budweiser, which pays FIFA $75 million per four-year World Cup cycle, said it was working with organizers to “relocate franchise outlets to locations as directed.”

Friday’s latest plan means the brewery’s red tents may now not be visible throughout the stadiums; Unbranded white alternatives are being considered. The company’s famous red-hued fridges will likely be replaced with blue ones, which is the color associated with Budweiser’s non-alcoholic brand, Budweiser Zero.