'Ridiculous': Fans furious after FIFA 'caves in to pressure' and bans beer at Qatar World cup stadiums
In a now-deleted tweet, Budweiser, which reportedly spent $75m in sponsorship, also expressed its frustration
DOHA, QATAR: In a shocking move, FIFA has reportedly prohibited the sale of alcohol at Qatar World Cup stadiums, leaving fans frustrated and angry. The apparent decision was taken just days before the opening Sunday, November 20, game at the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor between Qatar and Ecuador.
It was initially decided that beer will be available for fans at the stadium concourses. However, according to the new rule, fans can get the liquor only in the hospitality boxes, which cost a minimum of $22,450 per game. People inside the boxes will get “soft drinks, beers, champagne, sommelier-selected wines, and premium spirits,” as reported by The Daily Mail.
In a statement, the football association said, “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.”
“There is no impact to the sale of Bud Zero which will remain available at all Qatar’s World Cup stadiums. Host country authorities and Fifa will continue to ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide an enjoyable, respectful and pleasant experience for all fans. The tournament organizers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continuous support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the World Cup,” the statement noted.
Besides annoying the fans, the last-minute change also left Budweiser in a tricky spot. The beer giant reportedly spent $75M to be a top-tier sponsor of the tournament. In a now-deleted tweet, the alcohol company said, “Well, this is awkward…”
A 30-year-old German fan named Daniel Schwestka from Dusseldorf reportedly said, “Football without beer is not football. I go to many matches even in the third German leagues, and you can have a beer. It is normal to drink beer at football and this is the World Cup.”
“When I arrived in Doha yesterday, I had two bottles of whiskey, my luggage and they took it from me at the airport. I knew it was going to be difficult to drink here. But how can they ban beer at the actual stadiums. It is ridiculous,” Schwestka added.
Another football fan, Brian Davidson, shared, “I’m devastated, it doesn't make sense. What's wrong with having a beer at a match? Beer wasn't going to be sold inside the stadiums anyhow, just on the concourse. Millions of people are coming from all over the world and they just want to watch football, enjoy the sun and knock back a few beers. I'll just have to go to the Fan Zones or a hotel for a drink but it's a real pity that the Qataris have implemented this ban.”
The restriction caused a widespread outcry on social media. Someone tweeted, “I don't understand at all. Qatar officials bribed #FIFA to host the #FIFAWorldCupQatar2022 only to ban sale of alcohol which they consider haram. Like, is bribery a saintly act?” Another person said, “@FIFAcom caved in to last minute pressure from @MOI_QatarEn to ban alcohol from World Cup stadia. I feel sorry for @budweiserusa who have had a legal contract ripped up. Where does it state in Islamic law that only people who can afford a £20k hospitality can drink alcohol?”
@FIFAcom caved in to last minute pressure from @MOI_QatarEn to ban alcohol from World Cup stadia. I feel sorry for @budweiserusa who have had a legal contract ripped up. Where does it state in Islamic law that only people who can afford a £20k hospitality can drink alcohol?— Clive Sedgebeer (@cambrianguy) November 18, 2022
“Just a reminder that, in order to host the 2014 World Cup, FIFA forced Brazil to pass a law overturning its long-standing ban on alcohol sales in sports stadiums,” a third commented, while another added, “Going to be the least watched World Cup for one that cost that much money to put on.”
Just a reminder that, in order to host the 2014 World Cup, FIFA forced Brazil to pass a law overturning its long-standing ban on alcohol sales in sports stadiumshttps://t.co/2cOpmWxFKq https://t.co/FVWhmSTkFM— PM2.5 Kills ~9 Million People Annually (@twkovach) November 18, 2022
Going to be the least watched World Cup for one that cost that much money to put on— PHILS (@bruceharper123) November 18, 2022
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