Qatar bans the sale of beer around World Cup stadiums in a stunning policy u-turn just two days before the start of the tournament.
Just two days before the tournament’s start, Fifa and Qatar banned beer sales near the eight World Cup stadiums in a dramatic policy reversal.
The decision was made, according to the governing body of football, after “discussions” with Qatar, the country hosting the World Cup and an Islamic nation that strongly prohibits alcohol use.
It gave no reason for the surprise decision, however.
A Fifa statement said alcohol would be focused on fan zones, “removing sales points of beer from Qatar’s Fifa World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters.”
Before the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador on Sunday, dozens of beer tents had already been erected up at the stadiums.
The 29-day event is expected to draw more than a million visitors, according to Qatar, and Fifa has a long-standing sponsorship agreement with significant beer maker and AB InBev-owned Budweiser.
“The tournament organizers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continued support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022,” added the statement.
Beer will remain available in VIP suites in stadiums, which are sold by world football’s governing body, at the main Fifa fan zone in Doha, some private fan zones, and in about 35 hotel and restaurant bars.