Qatar Bans Alcohol Sales at World Cup Stadiums, Two Days Before Tourney Kickoff

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Just before the tournament’s start, Qatar reversed previous alcohol sale regulations at its eight World Cup stadiums.

FIFA confirmed on Friday that beer sales will not be permitted within stadiums during the nearly month-long event, according to The Times. While the sale of beer is not allowed for most visiting fans, select guests and FIFA officials in luxury suites will still be allowed to enjoy beer, wine, and spirits in private viewing areas. This includes the official World Cup 2022 Champagne.

Sales in designated fan zones will also not be affected, according to the New York Times. Earlier this week, Qatar organizers asked Budweiser to move its branded tents to less-visible locations outside of the stadium.

In a Nov. 18 statement, FIFA confirmed the sudden policy change:

“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 sales points of beer from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters.”

In the months leading up to the event, Qatar officials and FIFA organizers have previously struggled to define parameters for alcohol sales. Budweiser, which holds a $75 million partnership with FIFA, appeared to tweet “Well, this is awkward,” on Friday. The post was deleted some 90 minutes later, according to the New York Times.

“The tournament organizers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continued support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” the press release states.

Bud Zero, a non-alcoholic beer, will still be available at stadiums and official venues.

The 2022 World Cup will kick off on Sunday, Nov. 20 with a match between Qatar and Ecuador.

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