More problems for FIFA with stadium beer ban confirmed
Khalifa International Stadium, Qatar.
FIFA is facing the embarrassment of having to explain to one of its major sponsors why their trademark Budweiser beer will now not be sold at World Cup stadiums during the tournament.
After problems arose earlier this week regarding the prominence of the Budweiser stalls at the stadiums, and moves were made to move beer sales to more discreet areas, the World Cup hosts have now banned sales of the famous beer at stadiums during games – corporate guests, however, will still be able to purchase alcohol.
While the state is essentially ‘dry’, agreements were reached to allow limited sales of alcohol during the competition in stadiums, in the area outside match venues, at fan zones, and also within hotels.
But with just 48 hours remaining before the hosts open the competition with a game against Ecuador, stadium sales to the majority of fans have been banned.
The move will undoubtedly pile more pressure on FIFA who have come under sustained fire for awarding the competition to a country where being gay is illegal, and whose authorities repress freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom of association. The Gulf state also has no footballing pedigree, and they have already been allowed to move the tournament to what is effectively mid-season for most of the countries involved.
The latest news backs claims that FIFA are no longer in full control of the decision-making process in what is their showpiece event, an alcohol ban going against their own official fans’ notes that states: “Ticket holders will have access to Budweiser, Budweiser Zero, and Coca-Cola products within the stadium perimeter.”
The deal struck with Qatari officials was that sales of Budweiser would be allowed for at least three hours before games, and one hour afterwards.
The move to ban alcohol in stadiums by those in power in Qatar is seen by many as to a reaction to the negative publicity they have received in recent days. Along with concerns raised about the treatment of migrant workers involved in the construction of World Cup facilities in the build up to the competition, a number of issues have arisen recently: among them ‘fan’ marches allegedly being staged, reporters being stopped from filming for no apparent reason, and any alcohol sales allowed seeing a pint of beer costing up to £15.
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