World Cup fans are furious after Qatar, in last-minute negotiations, banned the sale of alcohol around the eight stadiums that will host the World Cup. Ex-FIFA president Blatter previously said choosing Qatar was “a mistake.”
Qatar bans alcohol sales at World Cup stadiums in last-minute decision
Only two days before the 2022 World Cup is set to kick off on Sunday, November 20, the country has made an 11th-hour decision to ban alcohol sales at the eight stadiums hosting the competition.
Sales of alcohol are strictly controlled in Qatar, which adheres to a conservative form of Islam known as Wahhabism. The country only allows alcohol consumption in certain hotels and restaurants.
FIFA, the international governing body for football (soccer), said in a tweet that the decision was made “following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA.”
It is well known that football (soccer) is a notoriously boozy sport, so the decision to ban alcohol creates further tension between fans and the conservative Muslim country hosting the event. The World Cup already faced criticism over the country’s oppression of the LGBTQ+ community and its poor treatment of the migrant workers who built the tournament venues, NBC reported.
“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,” read a statement from FIFA.
Alcohol can still be purchased at official fan zones during the competition, ESPN reported. In addition, alcohol sales will also still be permitted at in-stadium luxury suites that also serve liquor, wine and custom World Cup 2022 champagne, NPR reported.
Budweiser, owned by beer maker AB InBev, is a major sponsor of FIFA and had exclusive rights to sell beer at the World Cup.
Sepp Blatter: Choosing Qatar to host World Cup “a bad decision.”
In the first week of November, FIFA’s ex-president Sepp Blatter said it was a mistake twelve years ago to choose Qatar to host the World Cup.
In his first major interview since being acquitted in July of financial misconduct, the 86-year-old Blatter spoke with the Swiss newspaper group Tamedia, faulting himself and FIFA for making what he called a “bad choice” in selecting Qatar.
“It’s a country that’s too small,” Blatter said. “Football and the World Cup are too big for that.”
Qatar is the smallest host by size since the 1954 tournament held in Switzerland, NPR reported.
“It was a bad choice,” Blatter said. “And I was responsible for that as president at the time.”
Blatter said that he voted for the United States.