FIFA has confirmed it will not permit the sale of alcohol in World Cup stadiums, which has come to a cost with Budweiser’s $75 million sponsorship deal.
Football fans in Qatar will not be able to buy beer in or around stadiums whilst watching football matches during the World Cup tournament.
There are just two days left to go until the first kick-off match of the tournament which will be between Qatar vs Ecuador on Sunday. Spectators will have to choose between soft drinks or alcohol-free Budweiser Zero, with fans enjoying a sober experience of seeing their nations compete.
It seems like ‘sober October’ has prolonged to ‘No booze November’ for those who have travelled to Qatar! Additionally, corporate spectators will be exempt from the alcohol ban much to the dismay of ordinary football fans.
Can you still drink in Qatar?
Alcohol is legal in Qatar for those 21 years and older, and is for sale in bars and licensed hotel restaurants. However, drinking in public places and being drunk in public is a crime.
Football supporters oversees will be able to drink at independent fan festivals where a pint will cost an outstanding £11.60. Additionally, there is a limit of four drinks per person.
Reactions haven’t all been negative. Former Arsenal footballer Martin Keown supports the call to ban the sale of alcohol in stadiums. He said, “Is it such a bad thing when we see fans fuelled by alcohol?”.
English football fans have a reputation for being especially rowdy in past football competitions, most notably their beer-fuelled fights with Russian fans at the UEFA Euro 2016 in France. Keown further believes that a ‘dry’ World Cup will be, “a good thing for all of us”.
World Cup organiser, Hassan Al-Thawadi, is steadfast in the decision on the ban saying, “that is final”. There will be no exceptions of Qatari law for foreign fans, as it is illegal to consume alcohol in public places.
English football supporters will be reminded that they are visiting an Islamic country and must respect their cultural norms and traditions upon their arrival in Qatar.
Words: Tadhg Ormond | Subbing: Cerah Handsaker