July 8 – Alcohol will not be served at World Cup venues in Qatar, according to agency reports.
Qatar will host the first global finals in the Middle East and in a Muslim country later this year, which pits local, restrictive laws against the commercial interests of both FIFA and its sponsors, as well as football fans who have been accustomed to drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages at previous finals.
Reuters reports that alcohol won’t be served during World Cup matches or inside the stadiums.
Alcohol will be available at a limited number of places, including a “sandy plot surrounded by a 3 metre wall and located between the delivery entrance of a hotel and a district cooling plant”, Al Bidda park and at a disused corner of the Doha Golf Club, where FIFA and organisers staged the fan zone during the 2019 Club World Cup.
That fan zone was set up well outside of view to, arguably, not upset the conservative sections of local society. The plans, as seen by Reuters, seem to suggest this will be the modus operandi again during the World Cup.
Qatar is not a dry country, but alcohol remains largely restricted to five-star hotels and a number of other selected venues. Consuming alcohol in public in Qatar is illegal.
How the plans will rime with FIFA’s hospitality packages which promise “beers, Champagne, sommelier-selected wines, and premium spirits” and the demands of sponsor Budweiser remains to be seen. During the Arab Cup in December, there was no alcohol on sale in venues.
In the lead-up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the host country lifted a law that banned alcohol from stadiums following pressure from FIFA.
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