Nov 18, 2022 - Sports

Qatar bans beer sales at World Cup stadiums

Cans of Budweiser beer featuring the FIFA World Cup logo on display in Doha on Friday.

Cans of Budweiser beer featuring the FIFA World Cup logo on display in Doha on Friday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

The King of Beers will be noticeably absent at Qatar's World Cup, which starts Sunday.

Driving the news: FIFA said Friday that alcohol sales would be banned at the tournament's eight stadiums — a last-minute reversal of a plan that would've allowed fans to purchase Budweiser.

  • Sales of alcoholic beverages will still be allowed in a fan festival area and some other licensed venues in Qatar.

Why it matters: Alcohol sales are strictly controlled in Qatar, a conservative Muslim nation. The availability of beer has created widespread speculation since the country was awarded the World Cup in 2010.

  • The new plan could create friction with Budweiser, which has sponsored the tournament since 1986 and pays tens of millions of dollars each World Cup cycle.

Between the lines: Beer will still be available in suites for FIFA officials and wealthy guests, the New York Times reports.

  • Other fans can purchase nonalcoholic beer in stadiums, soccer's governing body said.

What they're saying: "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 in a statement.

  • "The tournament organisers appreciate AB InBev's understanding and continuous support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022."
Go deeper