Status: 11/18/2022 1:13 p.m
World Cup hosts Qatar enforced a ban on alcoholic beer around all stadiums shortly before the opening of the soccer World Cup. Alcohol should still be available in the VIP boxes during the games.
Two days before the opening game, the softening of the alcohol ban that had actually been agreed with the world football association was overturned again, as FIFA announced on Friday (November 18, 2022). This means that the fans only have to adjust again around 48 hours before the World Cup opening game between hosts Qatar and Ecuador on Sunday (5:00 p.m.).
Alcohol in the stadiums only in the VIP areas
According to FIFA, non-alcoholic beer will continue to be sold in the stadiums. According to information from the sports show, alcohol should still be available in the VIP areas of the stadiums, as FIFA announced on request.
The decision has no influence on the official fan festival in Al Bidda Park in the center of Doha. There, fans traveling to Qatar should still be able to consume alcoholic beverages, but only from 6.30 p.m. local time.
“Following discussions between the authorities of the host country and FIFA, it has been decided to focus sales of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival and other fan destinations and licensed venues,” the statement said.
In the previous week, Budweiser, FIFA’s exclusive beer sponsor, was asked under pressure from the Qatari royal family to move the planned sales tents to less conspicuous locations in the stadiums – now the complete ban followed.
Close connection between FIFA and sponsor Budweiser
Budweiser is set to pay FIFA around $75 million for a four-year World Cup cycle. An example of the World Cup in Brazil shows how important the deal is to FIFA. Before the tournament, alcohol was banned from stadiums in Brazil, but FIFA wanted things to be different. In May 2012, for example, the Brazilian Senate passed the so-called “Budweiser Bill” – the sale of beer in the stadiums was suddenly allowed at the time.
No general alcohol ban in Qatar
Alcohol is generally available in Qatar, and non-Muslims over the age of 21 can enjoy it – although strict rules apply. Getting drunk in public or even just drinking alcohol is illegal in Qatar. Most international hotels are licensed to serve alcohol, but World Cup guests should be prepared for exorbitant prices.