Qatar World Cup Bans Big Spectator Tradition In Stadium At Last Minute

DOHA, Qatar —The sale of all beer with alcohol on the eight World Cup stadiums was banned Friday, solely two days earlier than the soccer event is about to start out. Non-alcoholic beer will nonetheless be offered on the 64 matches within the nation.

“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 … stadium perimeters,” FIFA stated in a press release.

A Budweiser signal on the Fan Competition in Doha, Qatar, on Friday, forward of the beginning of the FIFA World Cup.

Claudio Villa through Getty Photographs

Champagne, wine, whiskey and different alcohol remains to be anticipated to be served within the luxurious hospitality areas of the stadiums.

Ronan Evain, the chief director of the fan group Soccer Supporters Europe, referred to as the choice to ban beer gross sales on the stadiums “extremely worrying.”

“For many fans, whether they don’t drink alcohol or are used to dry stadium policies at home, this is a detail. It won’t change their tournament,” Evain wrote on Twitter. “But with 48 (hours) to go, we’ve clearly entered a dangerous territory — where ‘assurances’ don’t matter anymore.”

Whereas a sudden choice like this will appear excessive within the West, Qatar is an autocracy ruled by a hereditary emir, who has absolute say over all governmental choices.

Qatar, an energy-rich Gulf Arab nation, follows an ultraconservative type of Islam often called Wahhabism like neighboring Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, alcohol gross sales have been permitted in lodge bars for years.

Qatar’s authorities and its Supreme Committee for Supply and Legacy didn’t instantly reply to request for remark.

Already, the event has seen Qatar change the date of the opening match solely weeks earlier than the World Cup started.

Budweiser’s guardian firm, AB InBev, pays tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} at every World Cup for unique rights to promote beer and has already shipped the vast majority of its inventory from Britain to Qatar in expectation of promoting its product to hundreds of thousands of followers. The corporate’s partnership with FIFA began on the 1986 event and they’re in negotiations for renewing their deal for the following World Cup in North America.

When Qatar launched its bid to host the World Cup, the nation agreed to FIFA’s necessities of promoting alcohol in stadiums, and once more when signing contracts after successful the vote in 2010.

At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the host nation was compelled to vary a regulation to permit alcohol gross sales in stadiums.

Already, the event has seen Qatar change the date of the opening match solely weeks earlier than the World Cup started.

Budweiser’s guardian firm, AB InBev, pays tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} at every World Cup for unique rights to promote beer and has already shipped the vast majority of its inventory from Britain to Qatar in expectation of promoting its product to hundreds of thousands of followers. The corporate’s partnership with FIFA began on the 1986 event and they’re in negotiations for renewing their deal for the following World Cup in North America.

When Qatar launched its bid to host the World Cup, the nation agreed to FIFA’s necessities of promoting alcohol in stadiums, and once more when signing contracts after successful the vote in 2010.

At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the host nation was compelled to vary a regulation to permit alcohol gross sales in stadiums.

Ab InBev didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The corporate shall be based mostly at an upscale lodge within the West Bay space of Doha with its personal branded nightclub for the event.