In an eleventh-hour U-turn, the organizers of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar said that they would no longer allow alcohol in the country’s stadiums.
The decision was confirmed by world football’s governing body. It’s expected that the ban will be announced on Friday, two days before the tournament begins.
In a statement, FIFA said that it had decided to remove the sale of alcoholic drinks from the areas surrounding the eight stadiums in Qatar during the tournament.
The governing body noted that the decision was made following discussions with the country’s authorities.
Budweiser, the main sponsor of the event, had previously been allowed to sell beer inside the designated areas within the stadium perimeter three hours before and one hour after each match.
After news about the ban broke, the official account of Budweiser posted a message on Twitter that called it “awkward.” The company did not respond to requests for comment.
A source who was briefed on the matter said that a large number of fans would be coming from South Asia and the Middle East, where alcohol was not a major issue.
The organizers of the World Cup in Qatar said that they decided to ban the sale of alcohol in the country’s stadiums due to the concerns that it would not provide an enjoyable experience for the fans.
In addition to restricting alcohol sales, the tournament requires the country to make certain that fans are treated with dignity and respect.
However, human rights groups are worried that the authorities will not be able to handle the influx of foreign fans who violate the country’s Islamic laws.
In accordance with Islamic law, alcohol is only served in certain licensed establishments in Qatar, and it’s prohibited to consume it outside of these areas.
Non-Muslim residents are also allowed to drink at home, though public drunkenness is often punished with heavy fines and even prison sentences. Despite these restrictions, the country has promised to lift them during the World Cup.
According to the head of the country’s security operations, the police would not be able to focus on most violations, such as property damage and drunken brawls.