The sale of ‘alcoholic’ beer was banned at eight World Cup stadiums on Friday. The decision was taken just two days before the start of the FIFA tournament. The ‘alcohol’ free beer will be sold during the 64 matches to be held in the country. FIFA said in a statement: “Following discussions between host country officials and FIFA, by removing the sale of beer from the perimeter of the stadium, FIFA will allow the sale of alcoholic beverages at ‘fan festivals’, other fan venues and licensed venues.” It was decided to concentrate on sales of ,
Champagne, wine, whiskey and other ‘alcohol’ will be served in the ‘luxury hospitality areas’ of the stadium. Beer will be the only ‘alcohol’ sold to regular ticket holders outside these venues. AB InBev, parent company of World Cup beer sponsor Budweiser, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. AB InBev pays hundreds of millions of dollars for ‘exclusive’ rights to sell beer at each World Cup and has shipped much stock from the UK to Qatar for fans.
Budweiser’s parent company has had a partnership with FIFA that began with the 1986 tournament and is in talks to continue it for the next World Cup in North America. When Qatar began the bidding process to host the World Cup, the country agreed to respect FIFA’s commercial partners and did so when signing the contract after winning the vote in 2010. At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the host nation was forced to change a rule allowing the sale of alcohol.