'You're not drinking anymore': Beer banned in World Cup stadiums after demand from Qatari's all-powerful royals

18 November 2022, 11:06 | Updated: 18 November 2022, 12:05

The U-turn comes just days before the start of the tournament
The U-turn comes just days before the start of the tournament. Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The sale of beer has been banned in World Cup stadiums just 48 hours before the tournament is due to begin.

FIFA's U-turn follows intense pressure from Qatar's royal family to ban the sale of alcohol during the tournament. The sale of alcohol is strictly controlled in Qatar.

An official FIFA statement read: "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 perimeters.

"There is no impact to the sale of Bud Zero which will remain available at all Qatar's World Cup stadiums. 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.

"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."

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and FIFA President Gianni Infantino attend World Cup draw on April 1st 2022
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and FIFA President Gianni Infantino attend World Cup draw on April 1st 2022. Picture: Alamy

Budweiser is one of FIFA's biggest sponsors but was told on Saturday to relocate stalls selling its product at stadiums to less prominent locations.

The organisation’s official fan guide states that “ticket holders will have access to Budweiser, Budweiser Zero, and Coca-Cola products within the stadium perimeter” for at least three hours before games, and for another hour afterward.

Read More: Qatar hosting World Cup is a ‘mistake of biblical proportions’, says professor after criticism of Southgate’s comments

In response to the request to move its outlets, AB InBev told Sky News: "AB InBev was informed on November 12 and are working with FIFA to relocate the concession outlets to locations as directed.

"We are working with FIFA to bring the best possible experience to the fans. Our focus is on delivering the best possible consumer experience under the new circumstances."

The decision to host the World Cup in Qatar has been met with a wave of criticism, causing a number of high-profile figures to boycott the event.

Dua Lipa and Rod Stewart have both said they are opposed to profiting from Qatar, while pressure has been growing on David Beckham to cut ties with the country over its human rights abuses and laws on homosexuality ahead of the World Cup.

David Beckham has been put under pressure to cut ties with Qatar
David Beckham has been put under pressure to cut ties with Qatar. Picture: Getty

Former Man United star and Sky Sports commentator Gary Neville has also been accused of having 'double standards by attending the tournament in Qatar.

In a separate row, rumours have been swirling about 'fake fans' attending the World Cup, organised by Qatar, after details emerged that the host country had 'paid for the flights of some England fans'.

In a statement, the Qatar World Cup Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said: "Recent media speculation has portrayed this initiative to be an illicit scheme, paying guest fans in return for coordinated promotion of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

"This insinuation is absolutely false. All fans visiting Qatar as our guests do so voluntarily and unpaid. They are under no obligation to post or share content provided by the SC, or to report content on our behalf."

Sociology of Sport Professor John Sugden previously told Nick Ferrari the decision to give Qatar the World Cup is comparable to the “building of the pyramids in Egypt by a slave army”, after Gareth Southgate claimed workers there were “united” in wanting it.

John Sugden, Emeritus Professor of the Sociology of Sport at the University of Brighton spoke to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on LBC earlier this month, after Gareth Southgate received criticism for saying workers in Qatar were “united” in wanting the World Cup there.

“What words of warning might you have given Gareth Southgate prior to that interview? Has he committed a bit of an own-goal here Professor?”, asked Nick.

Professor Sugden answered: “Absolutely. I would have said ‘Keep your mouth shut and concentrate on the football!’”

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