Shortly before the opening of the soccer World Cup, World Cup host Qatar enforced a ban on alcoholic beer around all stadiums. Two days before the opening game, the softening of the alcohol ban that had actually been agreed with the world football association was overturned, as FIFA announced.
This means that the fans only have to adjust again around 48 hours before the World Cup opening game between hosts Qatar and Ecuador on Sunday (5:00 p.m.). According to FIFA, alcohol-free beer will continue to be sold in the stadiums. Fans traveling to Qatar can consume alcoholic beverages at the official fan festival in the capital, Doha, among other places.
"Following discussions between the authorities of the host country and FIFA, it has been decided to focus sales of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival and other fan destinations and licensed venues," the statement said.
FIFA with beer sponsor
There had already been discussions about the alcohol being served at the tournament. According to media reports, sales stands that had already been set up around the stadiums were dismantled at the beginning of the week. At first it was said that these should be rebuilt elsewhere. Accordingly, the hosts pushed for a ban on alcohol, while FIFA and its beer sponsor opposed it. FIFA had initially rejected the reports of a change in the serving concept.
So far, it was planned that fans would be allowed to buy alcoholic beer in certain zones within the stadium areas during the World Cup games between November 20 and December 18 - but not directly in the arenas and only before and after the games. Now there is no alcoholic beer to buy in the entire area around the stadiums.
Alcohol is not completely banned in Qatar, but is only served to a very limited extent, for example in bars or restaurants in certain hotels. Foreigners who have a residence permit can also buy it in a shop, but must be older than 21 and need a permit to do so.