2022 Qatar World Cup Is Already Looking Like Quite a PR Mess

USA News

On Friday, the tournament announced in a last-minute reversal that the sale of beer would be banned in stadiums throughout the tournament

Cans of Budweiser beer featuring the FIFA World Cup logo are displayed in Doha on November 18, 2022 ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament.

Budweiser had exclusive rights to sell beer around stadiums at the Qatar World Cup.

Getty/Patrick Fallon

The sale of alcohol is very tightly controlled in Qatar.

“Alcohol is not part of local culture,” the Qatar 2022 website informs potential visitors. But with alcohol such a large part of sporting culture worldwide, and with Budweiser a major sponsor of the World Cup itself, it appeared as if a compromise would have to be made.

Before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, FIFA had applied pressure to ensure that beer was available to fans on game day, and for a while, it looked as though a similar exception would be made for in-stadium beer sales in Qatar.

But on Friday, Qatar abruptly pulled the plug on the sale of beer inside stadiums hosting World Cup matches.

“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,” FIFA wrote in a statement.

The statement noted that Bud Zero, an alcohol-free alternative option, would still be available to fans.

While alcohol will still be available to fans in Qatar at locations outside the stadiums, the sudden reversal raises concerns about what other aspects of the tournament the host nation might decide need a last-minute revision.

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