The original plan was to only serve beer in the so-called fan zones in Doha.Image: IMAGO/ANP
“Alcohol is not part of the local culture, but hospitality is.” That is actually on the official website of the organizer of the World Cup. Alcohol must therefore also be available for fans.
How and where exactly, that was unclear for a long time. An alcohol compromise was then concluded in September, it was announced after negotiations between the world federation FIFA and the World Cup organizers. Therefore, there should be special beer outlets in front of the stadiums, where alcohol can be sold before the match until 30 minutes before kick-off and after the match for about two and a half hours. In addition, there is the possibility for fans to consume alcohol from 6.30 pm in the fan zones in Doha.
In the stadiums, ticket holders must purchase alcohol in the hours before kick-off and one hour after the final whistle – however, alcohol is taboo in the stadium and in the stands.
Only soft drinks are allowed in the stands of stadiums in Qatar.Image: IMAGO/Shutterstock
A few days ago it was announced that this compromise had been changed again. According to the New York Times, the royal family would have issued instructions to move the serving points to less conspicuous places. Now there should be another change – and fans will not like it at all.
FIFA would violate a million-dollar contract
According to a report in the “Times”, the World Cup organizers from Qatar apparently put considerable pressure on FIFA on Thursday evening, just three days before kick-off. They should make a U-turn in their beer policy at the World Cup and stop selling Budweiser – the brand of FIFA beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch – in the eight stadiums.
Apparently it wasn’t enough to move the beer taps to a more inconspicuous location. It is believed that this was also at the behest of the Qatari royal family Al Thani.
The official decision was made on Friday afternoon: fans were informed just 48 hours before Qatar’s tournament opener against Ecuador on Sunday that they cannot buy beer.
Budweiser (background) is one of FIFA’s main sponsors at the World Cup in Qatar.Image: www.imago-images.de /image-images
However, FIFA is violating a multi-million dollar contract. Because Budweiser is one of the main sponsors of FIFA – and therefore not visible at the games, and Anheuser-Busch is also not allowed to sell its brand there.
What is certain is that beer may only be served in the fan zones in Doha.
The “Times” writes of a “shock” for FIFA caused by the belated intervention of the World Cup organizers. Finally, it is very unusual for such changes to a contract with a sponsor to be made so close to the start of a major event. The talks would have continued late into the night on Thursday evening.
Budweiser responds to beer debate
Budweiser is probably as unenthusiastic about the current discussion as FIFA. The beer brand’s official account wrote Friday afternoon, “Well, that’s awkward.” The tweet was deleted a short time later. Nevertheless, during this period it was shared more than 3,100 times and received about 18,600 likes.
The tweet was deleted a short time later.photo: twitter/budweiser
The start of the 2022 World Cup is just around the corner. The Qatar national team will meet Ecuador on Sunday in the opening match at Al Bayt Stadium in northern Qatar. The German national team has also been on its way to Qatar since Monday. With a short stopover in Oman for a test match.