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Doha (AFP) – FIFA and Qatar banned beer sales around the eight World Cup stadiums on Friday in a stunning policy reversal just two days before the tournament began.
Football’s world body said the decision was taken following “discussions” with World Cup host Qatar, an Islamic state that severely restricts alcohol consumption.
However, he gave no reason for the surprise decision.
A FIFA statement said alcohol would be concentrated in fan zones, “removing beer outlets from the perimeters of stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar”.
Dozens of beer tents had already been set up in stadiums ahead of Sunday’s opener between Qatar and Ecuador.
Qatar has predicted that more than a million fans will visit the country for the 29-day tournament and FIFA has entered into a long-standing sponsorship deal with major beer producer Budweiser, which is owned by AB InBev.
“Tournament organizers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continued support of our shared commitment to meeting the needs of all during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” the statement added.
Beer will remain available in stadium VIP suites, which are sold by world football’s governing body, in the main FIFA fan zone in Doha, in some private fan zones and in around 35 hotel bars and restaurants. .
© 2022 AFP