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FIFA makes a last-minute decision to prohibit beer sales in World Cup stadiums.

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With the World Cup just days away, FIFA has banned the sale of beer in the tournament’s eight stadiums, citing pressure from hosts Qatar.

Qatar was pushing for a stadium ban.
Budweiser has already been forced to relocate stalls.
FIFA could be in breach of contract as a result of the ban.

WHAT IS GOING ON? In a dramatic U-turn by FIFA, beer sales at World Cup stadiums will be prohibited in Qatar. According to FIFA’s website, the only drinks available at matchday venues for the entire month of World Cup action will be non-alcoholic.

WHAT THEY SAID: “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 beer sales points from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters,” according to a FIFA statement. There will be no effect on the sale of Bud Zero, which will continue to be available at all Qatar World Cup stadiums.

“Host country authorities and FIFA will continue to ensure that all fans have an enjoyable, respectful, and pleasant experience in the stadiums and surrounding areas.” The tournament organizers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and ongoing support of our joint commitment to provide equal access during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The sale of alcohol in the state of Qatar is strictly controlled, with visitors restricted to purchases in upscale hotel bars even before the tournament. Beer was supposed to be available outside tournament venues and in fan zones, but this quickly turned into Budweiser being forced to relocate its stalls to less visible locations on Saturday. This has now evolved into a full-scale removal from stadium perimeters, announced less than a week later and two days before the start of the actual football.

ADDITIONALLY, because Budweiser is still one of FIFA’s key partners, a ban on their products would reduce brand visibility, potentially putting football’s governing body in breach of a multi-million dollar contract. Meanwhile, fans can find hospitality suites exempt from any potential alcohol restrictions for under £19,000.

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