Just two days before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar, FIFA has confirmed that no alcohol will be sold in the eight stadiums that will host the tournament’s 64 matches.
“Following discussions between the host country authorities and FIFA, a decision was taken to focus on the sale of alcoholic beverages at the FIFA Fan Fest, other fan destinations and licensed venues, and to remove beer sales points from the vicinity of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar stadium,” the FIFA statement said.
The Islamic state is very conservative and tightly regulates the sale and use of alcoholic beverages.
Qatar said in September it would allow fans with tickets to buy alcoholic beer at soccer World Cup matches that start three hours before kick-off and for an hour after the final whistle, but not during the match.
“There is no impact on the sale of Bud Zero, which will continue to be available at all World Cup stadiums in Qatar,” the FIFA statement added.
“The host country authorities and FIFA will continue to ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide an enjoyable, respectful and enjoyable experience for all fans.”
Budweiser sold beer inside the ticket perimeter that surrounded each of the eight stadiums before and after each game.
The beer brand, which is a FIFA partner, tweeted, “Hmm, this is embarrassing,” though the social media post was quickly deleted.
Budweiser is owned by the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev.
The FIFA statement continued: “The tournament organizers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continued support of our shared commitment to meeting everyone’s needs during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”
to pay Budweiser about $75 million for its sponsorship agreement with FIFA, according to The New York Times.
“As partners of FIFA for more than three decades, we look forward to energizing FIFA World Cup™ campaigns around the world to celebrate football with our customers,” said an AB InBev spokesperson.
“Some of the planned stadium activities cannot go ahead due to circumstances beyond our control.”
The Football Supporters Association (FSA), the national representative body for football supporters in England and Wales, condemned the decision to sell beer.
In a statement released on Friday, the FSA said: “Some fans like having beer at a match, some don’t, but the real problem is a last-minute U-turn which speaks to a broader problem – the complete lack of communication and clarity from the organizing committee towards the supporters.” .
“If they can change their mind about this at any moment, without any explanation, supporters will have understandable concerns about whether they will deliver on other promises related to housing, transportation or cultural issues.”
Fans won’t be the only ones disappointed with the 11-hour spin.
Ben Bibi, head of sports services at JMW Solicitors, says the move is “hugely detrimental” to the FIFA brand.
“Brands will tread very carefully now all over FIFA for future tournaments,” he told CNN Sport. “Because if they come out two days before the biggest global sporting event they’re hosting, they turn on a brand and say, ‘You can’t do this and you can’t do that’ and they break that contract, that gives no security to any new brand.”
The Qatar World Cup 2022 will run from November 20 to December 18.
CNN is still awaiting an official statement from Qatar’s Supreme Committee.
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