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Is Alcohol Allowed in Qatar World Cup?

Only two days before the FIFA World Cup 2022 starts in Qatar, the international football governing body FIFA announced that there will be no sales and use of Alcohol in the tournament.

The tournament that is distributed in 64 matches will be played in eight different stadiums of Qatar and none of those stadiums will be permitted to keep alcohol for sales or usage. 

Alcohol in FIFAWill Alcohol be sold at the Qatar World Cup?

Alcohol and football! Sounds like an interesting combination. Well, every fan has this desire of sitting in Qatar stadium with a drink in hands and eyes at the FIFA World Cup 2022 matches.

Actually alcohol in the FIFA World Cup 2022 is one of the most important topics that is getting coverage from Media. Not in every World Cup, FIFA does such kind of discussion and arbitration but this world cup has alcohol as one of its most aggravating topics. Why so? 

Let us remind you that FIFA World Cup is being held in Qatar this time which is a Muslim and orthodox country. They possess a conservative mindset as. a result of which they regulate alcohol sales and usage. 

Just two days before the FIFA World Cup 2022 kicks off on November 20, FIFA announced that alcohol sales and usage shall not be allowed in Qatar World Cup. Which is quite as well as shocking to everyone. 

Regarding alcohol ban in FIFA World Cup Qatar, FIFA passed a statement reading “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 perimeter”. 

In September, FIFA said that it would permit the reserved fans with tickets to buy a few alcoholic drinks at the World Cup matches in starting hours before it begins and for one hour after it ends with the final whistle. But it was made clear that no alcohol sales or usage will be allowed during the match. 

Will Bud Zero sales get Affected by FIFA’s decision?

FIFA made sure that its decision regarding alcohol free stadiums didn’t affect Bud Zero, the beer brand which is one of FIFA’s partners. FIFA claimed “There is no impact to the sale of Bud Zero which will remain available at all Qatar World Cup stadiums”. 

FIFA added, “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 make a mistake?

Budweiser is a beer brand which was finalised to sell all the beers at the eight stadiums in Qatar World Cup. Everything was set. But then FIFA came up with its decision of alcohol free stadiums and that’s when Budweiser Zero surfaced.

It’s an alcohol free brew of Budweiser with 50 calories and zero amount of sugar. This is specifically made for the people who want to cut on alcohol without missing out on the flavour and joy. 

Budweiser, the beer brand, is FIFA’s partner or sponsor. Owned by the world’s biggest brewer Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Budweiser tweeted, “Well,.this is awkward” on twitter expressing its opinion though the tweet was deleted soon after posting. 

Appreciating InBev’s level of understanding and cooperation and their decision not to withdraw the brand due to alcohol ban in the tournament, FIFA admired him in it’s statement, “The tournament organisers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continuous support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022”. 

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”. 

Ben Peppi, head of sports services at JMW Solicitors called FIFA’s move “Hugely damaging”. Peppi expressed his concerns related to FIFA’s eleven hour U-turn. In his opinion, fans are not the only one to get affected by this judgement.

Brands will also be very selective about FIFA’s future tournaments from now on. “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.” 

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