Looking for Robb Report UK? Click here to visit our UK site.

Qatar Has Banned Alcohol Sales at World Cup Stadiums Just Days Before Games Begin

Soccer fans will need to forgo their pints this year.

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 18: The guys from the stand Budweiser pose for a photo at Fan Festival ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at Fan Festival Al Bidda Park on November 18, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. Claudio Villa/Getty Images

If you’re heading to Qatar for the World Cup, good luck finding a drink.

Just two days before the global sporting spectacular is set to kick off, organizers announced that beer would not be sold at the soccer stadiums, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. Previously, FIFA had said that beer would be sold outside the stadiums before and after matches. But now you’ll have to crack open a cold one at hotels and the FIFA Fan Festival, which is separate from the stadiums.

“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 said.

The question of how alcohol would be served during the World Cup has been open-ended for years, with Qatar being a conservative Muslim country where alcohol is not widely available. The World Cup, however, is quite the opposite, with revelers from all over the globe enjoying a beer—or two, or three or more—during the matches.

Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of the World Cup, spends $75 million every four years to hold that title, which allows it to be the only beer sold at official venues. This year, though, it’ll only be able to sell its nonalcoholic options. However, those who’ve shelled out for seats in stadiums’ luxury suites—with ticket packages running into the five figures—will have the chance to imbibe, since alcohol will be available in those settings.

The sudden about-face upset many fans, not necessarily because of the announcement itself, but because of the lack of clear communication from the World Cup organizers ahead of time. “Some fans like beer at the match, and some don’t, but the real issue is the last-minute U-turn which speaks to a wider problem—the total lack of communication and clarity from the organizing committee toward supporters,” said the UK-based Football Supporters’ Organization.

It’s also sign of another crackdown happening at this World Cup. In addition to these new alcohol restrictions, journalists on the ground to cover the tournament have already faced harassment and censorship by Qatari officials. And well before this, human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have shed light on the abusive conditions migrant workers endured to build the stadiums where the matches will take place. The incidents certainly aren’t helping Qatar’s goal to use this tournament to bolster its image on the world stage.

Read More On:

More Spirits