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Qatar set to ban alcohol sales in World Cup stadiums
World Cup

Qatar set to ban alcohol sales in World Cup stadiums

18.11.2022
U-turn, two days away from opening game of tournament, is likely to mean stands serving alcohol being moved further away from venues
A man takes a picture in front of a replica of the World Cup trophy outside the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, on November 15
A man takes a picture in front of a replica of the World Cup trophy outside the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, on November 15
Photo credit: AFP

Qatari officials are set to ban the sale of alcohol within its World Cup stadiums, dramatically reversing a decision to allow Anheuser-Busch InBev NV to sell Budweiser beer, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

The decision will likely result in moving concession stands serving alcohol further away from the stadiums, the person said. The tournament, typically the world’s largest sporting event and a decade in the planning, kicks off on Sunday with the hosts taking on Ecuador. 

The decision to ban alcohol sales within stadiums is an about-turn from Qatar’s previous position. The Supreme Committee on Delivery and Legacy had promised alcohol will be available in designated “fan zones” outside stadiums and other hospitality venues. 

The tournament has already been beset with controversies, ranging from scheduling complications due to Qatar’s summer heat to the treatment of migrant workers. 

Difficulties could mount once fans arrive and face local norms, such as dress codes requiring men and women cover their bodies from shoulders to knees in many public spaces. 

Alcohol availability has been a particular flash-point for criticism around FIFA’s decision to hold the quadrennial soccer spectacle in a conservative Muslim country where public displays of affection, boisterousness and drunkenness are taboo.

Qatar prohibits alcohol sales at almost all restaurants not associated with a high-end hotel or resort. With employer permission, foreign residents can also buy bottles of liquor, beer and wine for home consumption from a single Qatar Airways-run depot on the outskirts of Doha. 

FIFA and Budweiser maker AB Inbev, which have been in partnership since 1986, are pushing for more concessions. They’ve had success in the past - Brazil passed the so-called Budweiser Bill to overturn local laws that prohibited beer in stadiums for the 2014 World Cup. 

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.


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