Beer sales are set to be banned at stadiums during the Qatar World Cup after the Qatar officials pressured FIFA to abandon the move, just 48 hours before the tournament kicks off.
The original plans for the competition called for supporters to be given exemptions to purchase alcohol inside official fan zones between certain times and on stadium concourses, however, it now looks as if concourse sales will be banned. Tourists will still be able to buy alcohol from licensed hotels and restaurants, which is normally allowed under Qatari law.
An official announcement is expected imminently, but the move has put FIFA on a collision course with Budweiser, who is one of the tournament’s biggest sponsors and has a multi-million dollar promotion deal with the organizing body. The sale of alcohol is tightly controlled in Qatar, but the decision will now likely cause a massive rift between FIFA and Budweiser, with the duo locked in on a $75 million USD deal ahead of the tournament.
This is the latest controversy to land on the Qatar World Cup. This year’s tournament is the first to be held in a Muslim country and Qatar as a nation is typically teetotal, with foreigners able to purchase alcohol in certain premises, while non-Muslim locals are allowed to drink at home with a permit.
However, along with the drinking exemptions for traveling fans, they also come at a price. A pint of beer will cost visitors £12 (approx. $14 USD), and fans will also be limited to four drinks each to prevent them from getting drunk. Anyone who does get drunk faces being taken to a special zone to sober up.
In other World Cup news, take a look at the boots Lionel Messi will debut on November 20.
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