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FIFA announced on Friday that local authorities in Qatar had reversed their decision to allow the sale of alcohol, including beer, around stadiums without giving reasons for the reversal.
New back-pedalling a few days before the start of the world. Qatar authorities and Fifa have reversed the decision to sell beer to supporters around the 2022 World Cup stadiums, the football governing body announced in a statement on Friday, November 18, two days before the kick-off. mail.
“Following discussions between the authorities of the host country and Fifa”, it was decided to “remove beer sales outlets from stadium perimeters” and to “concentrate the sale of alcoholic beverages” in fan zones and authorized establishments, specifies this press release, without giving the reasons for such a decision.
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“Some fans like to have a beer at the game, some don’t. But the real issue is that this last minute about-face illustrates a larger problem: the complete lack of communication and transparency from the organizing committee towards the supporters”, denounced the FSA, the association of the English supporters of which thousands are expected Monday for their first match against Iran.
Regularly questioned about the reception of LGBTQ + spectators in a country where homosexuality is criminalized, the authorities have notably repeated that “everyone would be welcome without discrimination”.
It is also a sensitive topic as beer maker Budweiser has been a major sponsor of the tournament for three decades.
In their press release, the organizers of the Football World Cup thank the AB InBev group, of which Budweiser is a part, for its “understanding” and specify that the brand retains the possibility of selling non-alcoholic beers around and within the enclosure of the stadiums.
The organizers have long maintained the vagueness regarding the sale of alcohol during the world, strictly regulated in normal times, giving rise to a lot of speculation.
“An order from above”
It was confirmed in early September that beer stands would open around the stadiums from three hours to 30 minutes before the start of matches. They were then to reopen for an hour after the final whistle. Only non-alcoholic beers were to be available in stadiums.
“I think there is a misconception about the sale of alcohol in stadiums. We operate like any other World Cup,” pledged the CEO of the world Nasser Al-Khater, during a press conference on September 8.
On Friday morning, tents in the red and white colors of Budweiser were still visible around the Khalifa, Ahmed Ben Ali and Lusail stadiums, where AFP visited.
A source close to the organization told AFP that, “for four days”, these tents have been removed from the entrance of the supporters because they are considered “too visible”. “It’s an order that comes from above,” added this source.
The VIP areas of the stadiums offer packages including “beers, champagne, wines and spirits”.
In the main Fifa fan zone, buying alcohol is possible from 6:30 p.m. local time. In other private fan zones, the rules vary. In Qatar, consuming alcohol is legal for non-Muslims over 21, but strictly regulated.
It is forbidden to bring it in your luggage, even purchased in duty free. Residents can get them in a dedicated store that is not open to tourists. Visitors can drink in most international hotels, where a beer or glass of wine can cost around ten euros and a cocktail more than 15 euros.
Rules regarding the consumption of alcohol in football stadiums vary from country to country. During the 2014 World Cup, Brazil had lifted the ban on consuming it in its enclosures, at the request of Fifa.