AUnder pressure from host Qatar, no beer will be served at the eight World Cup stadiums after all. FIFA announced this two days before the opening game in the conservative Muslim emirate. Actually, there should be alcoholic beer in special sales tents at the stadiums before and after the games – but not during them. Qatar and the World Football Association only agreed on this in September.
Already last 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 has followed. On the other hand, there will be beer at the big fan festival in Al Bidda Park in the center of Doha, but only from 6:30 p.m. local time. 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 in stadiums in Brazil, but FIFA wanted things to be different. In May 2012, for example, the Brazilian Senate passed the so-called “Budweiser Bill” – at that time, beer sales in the stadiums were suddenly allowed.
Alcohol is generally available in Qatar, and non-Muslims over the age of 21 are allowed to drink 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.