- Qatar were pushing for ban around stadiums
- Budweiser already forced to move stalls
- Ban could leave FIFA in breach of contract
WHAT'S HAPPENING? In a dramatic U-turn from the FIFA, a complete ban on beer sales at World Cup stadiums will be in place in Qatar. The only drinks on sale at matchday venues throughout the entire month of World Cup action will be non-alcoholic, as FIFA confirmed on their website.
WHAT THEY SAID: A FIFA statement read: "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. There is no impact to the sale of Bud Zero which will remain available at all Qatar’s World Cup stadiums.
"Host country authorities and FIFA will continue to ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide an enjoyable, respectful and pleasant experience for all fans. The tournament organisers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continuous support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The sale of alcohol is strictly controlled in the state of Qatar, with visitors restricted to purchases in upscale hotel bars even before the tournament. An agreement had been in place for beer to be available outside tournament venues and in fan zones, but this soon transcended into Budweiser being forced to relocate its stalls to less prominent locations on Saturday. This has now evolved into a full-scale removal from the perimeter of stadia, announced less than a week later and two days before the actual football starts.
AND WHAT'S MORE: Given that Budweiser remain one of FIFA's key partners, such a ban on their products would hinder the brand's visibility and could therefore result in football's governing body being in breach of a multi-million dollar contract. Fans, meanwhile, can find hospitality suites exempt from any potential restrictions on alcohol for just under £19,000.
STORY IN TWO PHOTOS:
Recent developments mean these scenes won't be possible in Qatar...
WHAT NEXT FOR FIFA AND BUDWEISER? Negotiations look set to continue regarding the pair's reported $75 million (£63.7 million) sponsorship agreement.