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Qatar World Cup: Beer to be banned from stadiums, Sky News understands

Fans will not be allowed to buy alcohol around World Cup stadiums, Sky News understands.

The U-turn comes ahead of the tournament’s opening game in Qatar on Sunday.

Qatar had originally ordered Budweiser stands to be less prominent, but now alcohol won’t be sold at all at stadiums.

The sale of alcohol is strictly controlled in Qatar, and is only allowed in the Muslim nation within hotel bars and restaurants away from street view.

It had to relax its alcohol restrictions to allow FIFA sponsor Budweiser to sell its products outside match venues and fan zones.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - FIFA Fan Festival - Doha, Qatar - November 16, 2022 General view of a beer bar at the FIFA fan festival REUTERS/Muath Freij
Image:
A Budweiser beer bar at the FIFA Fan Festival in Doha, Qatar

Now Qatar 2022 wants to go even further – at the insistence of Qatar’s Al Thani royal family – amid discussions between FIFA and Budweiser.

An announcement is expected later today, but it is understood that 48 hours before Qatar face Ecuador in the tournament opener on Sunday, fans will be told they cannot buy beer at any games.

It is unclear if alcohol will still be available in corporate areas.

Read more:
Drunk fans will be sent to special zones to sober up
Qatar World Cup: Nine stories to watch out for

As one of FIFA’s biggest sponsors, Budweiser has the exclusivity to sell beer at World Cup matches.

Beer was already only allowed to be sold outside the stadium bowl itself, but within the perimeter for ticketholders before kick-off or post-match.

Now, it is understood beer will only be available in fan zones in Qatar after 6.30pm and drunk fans will be sent to special zones to sober up.

In response to the request to move its outlets, Budweiser owner 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.”

Footage on social media in recent days shows red Budweiser tents being moved on wheels by staff.


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