Qatar bans sale of alcohol in and around World Cup stadiums

The announcement comes 48 hours before Sunday's kickoff of the World Cup 2022.

Doha: In a surprising decision, about 48 hours before the start of the World Cup, the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) announced the ban on selling alcohol in the World Cup stadiums in Qatar and the surrounding areas.

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FIFA announced a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages to fans in the vicinity of the eight stadiums of the World Cup 2022 Qatar, which begins  Sunday, November 20, after “discussions” with the host country. 

FIFA did not indicate the reason behind this sudden decision, pointing out in its statement that the sale of alcoholic beverages will be limited only to fan areas, with “the removal of beer sales centers from the vicinity of the 2022 World Cup stadiums in Qatar.” 

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FIFA said in its statement, “After several discussions with the State of Qatar and the authorities there, we took this decision to limit drinking alcohol to participants in FIFA entertainment festivals only instead of the tournament stadiums, which means removing all outlets for selling alcohol in the stadiums.”

It further added, “Drinks without alcohol will remain as they are in the stadiums, and Qatar will try to provide the necessary environment for the fans to have an enjoyable and respectful experience in various places during the tournament period.”

FIFA concluded its statement, “The Organizing Committee greatly respects AB InBev’s understanding of this decision and its determination to show us sufficient support during the World Cup.”

The World Cup is scheduled to start on Sunday, and will continue until December 18, which is the first time that the most important football event in the world is held in the Middle East.

Qatar expects more than a million fans to come to the country during the World Cup over the course of the 29-day tournament, and FIFA has a long-term sponsorship contract with the beer-producing giant Budweiser owned by AB InBev.

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