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Does Qatar Allow Alcohol in The World Cup?

FIFA confirmed that there will be no alcohol sales and usage in FIFA World Cup 2022 which is being held in Qatar. Qatar is majorly a Muslim country where most of the people who reside follow Muslim religion. It’s an orthodox Islam country which strictly follow some rules including fully regulated control over alcohol usage and sales. 

FIFA World Cup 2022 and no alcohol? It’s difficult to imagine the world’s largest Football tournament without alcoholic beverages in hands. And some fans just love Football because of it. They enjoy having sips of alcohol while watching football game in the stadium. But it looks like they are going to be  deprived of that joy this time. Is it true? And if yes, why does Qatar not allow alcohol in the world Cup?

In this article, you will come across all the necessary information regarding Qatar’s decision about selling alcohol in the World Cup. 

Alcohol in FIFADoes Qatar allow alcohol in the World Cup?

FIFA World Cup 2022 takes place in Qatar kicking off on November 20, 2022. Two days before the world cup kicks off, international football governing body FIFA announced that there will be no alcohol sales and usage in FIFA World Cup Qatar.

FIFA World Cup 2022 is divided into 64 matches which will be held in eight different stadiums of Qatar out of which only one stadium is old and seven others are newly built ones with the main aim of serving in the World Cup. All of these stadiums will be alcohol free as per FIFA’s decision. 

FIFA statement reads, “following discussions between host country authority and FIFA a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA fan festival other fan destinations and licenced venues, removing sales points of beer from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeter”. 

Being a part of the Arab World, Qatar is considered to be an orthodox and conservative country which strictly regulates alcohol sales in the country. And now it’s also interfered with its usage in the FIFA World Cup. 

Though FIFA’s decision is health oriented, fans are upset with its announcement as they consider Football incomplete without alcohol. Following the aggression of fans, FIFA’s alcohol ban might also have a huge impact on Budweiser products sales as Budweiser is the partner brand of FIFA. FIFA has enjoyed an undisrupted beautiful relationship with Budweiser for the last three decades and it made sure that Bud Zero doesn’t get affected at all.

Will Budweiser get affected by FIFA’s Alcohol ban?

“There is no impact to the sale of Bud Zero which will remain available at all Qatar’s World Cup stadiums”- FIFA’s statement continued. 

Budweiser is a beer brand owned by world’s largest brewer Anheuser-Busch Inbev. Bud Zero is their product which is a non alcoholic beverage with 50 calories and zero amount of sugar which is mainly manufactured for the people who are trying to cut back on their sugar and alcohol intake. And now it will be sold all over the stadiums of Qatar until the World Cup ends. 

Even Budweiser could not stop itself from reacting to the FIFA action and tweeted “Well, this is awkward” though the tweet was deleted soon after posting. 

FIFA said, “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.”

Some of the fans are content or fine with FIFA’s alcohol free world cup stadiums while on the contrary some are ridiculed by this decision. One of the frustrated fans, who is just a 21 year old student Arnov Paul Chaudhary expressed his irritation by telling CNN Sport in Doha. He told CNN that it’s a world cup, it’s football, you need to be able to drink around the stadium. He thinks that they’re not doing the right things to attract fans.

Did FIFA plan a ban from the beginning?

Has FIFA been planning on banning alcohol since the very beginning or did it change its mind later? That’s a question worth answering. 

No, FIFA didn’t plan on banning alcohol in the World Cup but put some restrictions on its use. For instance, it was decided earlier that alcohol will be available to fans three hours before the match begins and for one hour after the match ends. But in the course of the last 24 hours, it turned out that FIFA confirmed no alcohol sales and usage in the World Cup. 

Did FIFA actually do the right thing?

Ben Peppi, head of Sports services at JMW Solicitors calls FIFA’s this move, “Hugely damaging”. Peppi told CNN that brands will be trading very carefully now with or around FIFA for future tournaments. “Because if two days out before the biggest global sporting event that they host, they turn round to a brand and say, ‘you can’t do this and you can’t do that’ and breach that contract, that’s not going to give any security to any new brand.” Beppi continued. 

According to the New York Times, Budweiser is paying around $75 million for its sponsorship agreement with FIFA. Continuing their good relationship, one of the AB Inbev spokespersons said that they have been partners with FIFA for over three decades now. And they look forward to their activations of FIFA World Cup campaigns around the world to celebrate the football with their customers. Inbev is trying their best to keep their relations good with FIFA and not ruin it just because of one decision. 

While Inbev and Budweiser are supporting FIFA, some other organisations are condemning FIFA’s decision. The Football Supporters Association (FSA), the national representative body for Football fans of England and Wales condemned the prohibition of alcohol sales in the FIFA World Cup on behalf of fans. 

Condemning FIFA’s decision, FSA gave a statement in which it said, “Some fans like a beer at the match, and some don’t but the real issue is the last minute U-turn which speaks to a wider problem – the total lack of communications and clarity from the organising committee towards the supporters.”

“If they can change their minds on this at a moment’s notice, with no explanation, supporters will have understandable concerns about whether they will fulfil other promises relating to accommodation, transport or cultural issues”. 

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