Doha: FIFA has confirmed that alcohol will not be sold at World Cup stadiums. The Times reported earlier on Friday morning that Qatari authorities were putting pressure on FIFA to prohibit selling beer at the eight stadiums hosting matches. “Alcohol will continue to be sold at FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations, and licensed venues,” FIFA said in a statement on Friday, two days before the event starts.
Liquor will not be sold inside stadiums or at the Brand Activation Areas within the stadium perimeters at the Qatar World Cup, FIFA has confirmed.
Previously, ticket-holders – according to FIFA’s fan guidelines – were told they would be able to buy Budweiser at the Brand Activation Areas within the stadium perimeter three hours before kick-off and one hour after the final whistle. Inside the actual stadiums, fans were only ever able to buy Budweiser Zero – which is non-alcoholic – and Coca-Cola. Now, however, alcohol will not be sold inside the stadium perimeters.
The decision comes after Qatari authorities reportedly applied pressure on FIFA to stop selling Budweiser at the eight hosting stadiums. Subsequently, now the only place beer is certain to be available is at fan parks, or special-licensed other areas, like hotels.
Football fans in Qatar for the World Cup were left gasping by this new guideline by FIFA for consuming alcohol. The last-minute decision to prohibit the sale of beer around the eight World Cup stadiums was reportedly made on the orders of Qatar’s ruling royal family. Ecuador fan Diana, 31, told the news agency AFP that she was saddened by the ban as she would have liked to have had a drink ahead of her country’s match with hosts Qatar which opens the World Cup. Qatar is an Islamic state which severely restricts alcohol consumption and other areas of public life and the reaction among locals in Doha was mixed.
“I think it should be allowed because like there are many people from all over the world coming here,” said 26-year-old Ayu Whazir. “And, you know, previously FIFA has been selling alcohol publicly.”
However, another fan Hashem Walid, 20, was not fretted about a decision that has left the expected one million fans set to visit the country unable to engage in the standard drinking before and after matches.
“I know the British fans won’t be too happy, but you don’t get everything you want in life, so I’m sorry.”