With just days to go until the start of the World Cup, hosts Qatar are reportedly pressuring Fifa to stop the sale of beer at the tournament’s eight stadiums, in what would be an incredible reversal.
The sale of alcohol is strictly controlled in Qatar, but should be available in the area immediately outside the match venues and fan zones, as well as inside hotels.
Budweiser is one of Fifa’s biggest sponsors but was told on Saturday to move its stands selling its products in stadiums to less prominent locations.
The Times reports that Qatar 2022 now wants to go even further and that discussions are ongoing between Fifa and Budweiser. A decision is expected on Friday, but it is believed that beer could be banned from all stadiums.
Budweiser remains one of Fifa’s key partners and to be denied the ability to sell beer or any visibility at World Cup matches would put soccer’s governing body in breach of a multi-million dollar contract.
Fifa and Budweiser owner AB InBev have been contacted for comment.
In response to the request to relocate its outlets, AB InBev told Sky News: “AB InBev was notified on November 12 and is working with Fifa to relocate concession outlets to locations as directed. We are working with FIFA to give fans the best possible experience. Our focus is on providing the best possible user experience in new circumstances.”
If the beer ban goes into effect, the only place fans will be able to drink alcohol will be in the dedicated fan park, where Budweiser has already revealed that a 500ml drink will cost fans a hefty £11.60.
A few hotel bars will usually charge around £12-£15 for a beer or glass of wine.