The International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) announced that alcoholic beverages will not be sold in the eight stadiums that will host the 2022 World Cup matches in Qatar.
Alcoholic beverages were to be served “in designated areas within the stadiums”, although their sale is strictly controlled in the Muslim Gulf state.
Those who will be in the VIP areas of the stadiums at the tournament will still be able to purchase alcoholic beverages.
And the situation was changed two days before the start of the World Cup finals – Sunday – when Qatar plays with Ecuador.
Budweiser, a major sponsor of FIFA and owned by brewer AB InBev, had exclusive rights to sell beer at the World Cup. And the company published, on its Twitter page, a tweet saying: “Well, this is confusing,” before removing the tweet.
While a spokesperson for AB InBev said, “We will not be able to carry out our activities in stadiums due to circumstances outside our control.”
A statement issued by FIFA said: “Following discussions between the host country authorities and FIFA, a decision was taken to focus on the sale of alcoholic beverages in the FIFA Fan Fest area, other fan destinations and licensed venues, and to remove beer sales points from the vicinity of the 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums in Qatar.”
He added, “There is no impact on the sale of Bud Zero, which will remain available in all World Cup stadiums in Qatar.”
The statement also stated: “The host country authorities and FIFA will continue to ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide an enjoyable, respectful and enjoyable experience for all fans.”
“The tournament organizers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continued support of our shared commitment to meeting everyone’s needs during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” he said.
The Football Supporters’ Union criticized the timing of the decision to ban the sale of beer to most fans. A spokesman for the federation said: “Some fans like to drink beer in the match and others do not like it, but the real problem is the change at the last minute, which indicates a bigger problem, which is the complete lack of communication and clarity from the organizing committee towards the fans.”
He added: “If they can change their mind about this at any moment, without any explanation, the fans will have understandable concerns about whether they will deliver on further promises on housing, transportation or cultural issues.”
In August, FIFA changed the start date of the World Cup so that the first match of the tournament brings together Qatar and Ecuador.
The match was scheduled to be played on November 21 as the third match, as the opening match between Senegal and the Netherlands was scheduled for earlier that day.