September 7 – Beer and alcohol at the World Cup in Qatar remains a delicate issue in the Muslim-majority country as the Middle East welcomes the World Cup for the first time, but organisers have said that beer will be available before and after matches around stadiums as well as at a fan festival in downtown Doha in the evenings.
There won’t be beer sold on the stadium concourse, but alcohol will be available before and after kickoff inside the stadium compounds. FIFA said that Budweiser with alcohol will be sold “within the stadium perimeter prior to kickoff and after the final whistle.”
“Inside the stadium bowl ticket holders will have access to non-alcoholic Budweiser Zero,” football’s world body said. “At the FIFA Fan Festival, Budweiser will be available to purchase from 6.30 p.m.”
Premium beverages, including champagnes, wine, liquor and beer for hospitality clients will remain available at World Cup stadiums.
Qatari organisers and AB InBev did not comment. Budweiser has been the exclusive World Cup beer brand since 1986 and parent company AB InBev renewed their deal through 2022 with FIFA in 2011, a year after Qatar were awarded the hosting rights for this year’s finals.
FIFA have been walking a tightrope, having legal obligations toward Budweiser while not upsetting the local organizers. Alcohol is not outlawed in Qatar, but access is strictly limited to hotels, restaurants and bars that have licenses. Residents can also obtain a license to buy alcohol in a limited number of licensed shops.
Qatar tested the sales of beer at the 2019 Club World Cup with supporters shuttled to a fan zone outside the city centre where supporters could buy beer at affordable prices, but during the World Cup alcohol will also be sold at the downtown Al Bidda Park, making it more visible and sensitive for locals.
Qatar is not the first host nation to alter domestic laws to accommodate World Cup alcohol sales. In 2014, Brazil caved to FIFA’s pressure and introduced a law that exempted the tournament from a ban on selling alcohol at stadiums.
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