Qatar Bans Sale of Alcoholic Beer at 2022 World Cup Stadiums

Image via Getty/PATRICK T. FALLON
Image via Getty/PATRICK T. FALLON

In a stunning about face, officials in Qatar have decided to ban the sale of alcoholic beer at stadiums hosting games for the 2022 World Cup, the New York Times reports.

The Qatari royal family made the request to FIFA, which has a $75 million sponsorship agreement with Budweiser. Alcohol will still be sold in designated areas around the stadiums.

“Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations, and licensed venues, removing the sales points of beer from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters,” FIFA said in a statement. “There is no impact on the sale of Bud Zero which will remain available at all of Qatar’s World Cup stadiums.”

Budweiser appears to have responded to the organization’s statement, writing, “Well, this is awkward…,” before also deleting their tweet.

Qatar has a zero-tolerance policy for public drinking and being inebriated in a public setting. Prior to this new ban, beer was going to be sold at all eight stadiums for $14 each, and there was going to be a set cap of four beers per order to curb binge drinking.

FIFA and Budweiser have had a partnership since 1985. By limiting the beer company’s visibility during the World Cup, FIFA might be violating its multimillion-dollar contract with Budweiser. At this point, beer, will only be served in hospitality boxes, along with wine and spirits. These luxury suites are costly and often held for FIFA officials and those who can afford them,

Outside of the stadiums, there are five fan zones that are free for patrons throughout Qatar. The zones will have performances, food, alcohol, and additional entertainment, and the games will be streamed on huge screens.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is slated for Nov. 20 to Dec. 18.

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