European nations are pressing FIFA for answers ahead of the World Cup

The sale of beer with alcohol is prohibited in the stadiums of the World Cup

DOHA, Qatar – The sale of all beer with alcohol was banned in eight World Cup stadiums on Friday, just two days before the soccer tournament begins.

Non-alcoholic beer will still be sold at 64 races across the country.

FIFA said in a statement: “Following discussions between host country officials and FIFA, it has been decided to focus on the sale of alcoholic beverages at the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan venues and licensed premises, away from the stadium premises. “Beer removed from the sales outlets.” statement

Champagne, wine, whiskey and other alcohol are still expected to be served in the luxury hospitality areas of the stadiums. Outside of these venues, beer is usually the only alcohol sold to regular ticket holders.

Ab InBev, the parent company of World Cup beer sponsor Budweiser, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

AB InBev pays tens of millions of dollars for exclusive rights to sell beer at each World Cup and has already moved much of its product from the UK to Qatar to sell its product to millions of fans. The company’s partnership with FIFA began at the 1986 tournament and they are in talks to renew their agreement for the next World Cup in North America.

While such a sudden decision may seem extreme in the West, Qatar is an authoritarian country ruled by a hereditary emir, who has absolute power over all government decisions.

Qatar, an energy-rich Gulf state, like neighboring Saudi Arabia, follows an ultra-conservative form of Islam called Wahhabism. However, the sale of alcohol has been allowed in hotel bars for years.

The Qatari government and its High Commission for Delivery and Succession did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier, the tournament saw Qatar change the date of the opening match just weeks before the start of the World Cup.

When Qatar launched its bid to host the World Cup, the country agreed to FIFA’s requirements to sell alcohol in stadiums, and again when it signed contracts after winning the vote in 2010.

At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the host nation was forced to change a law that allowed the sale of alcohol in stadiums.

Ronan Evin, chief executive of the European Football Supporters’ Fan Group, called the decision to ban the sale of beer in Qatar’s stadiums “extremely worrying”.

“For many fans, whether they don’t drink alcohol or are used to the stadium policies to dry at home, this is an explanation. It will not change their tournament,” Evin wrote on Twitter. “But with 48 (hours) to go, we’ve clearly entered dangerous territory – where ‘guarantee’ no longer matters.”

AB InBev’s contract with FIFA was renewed in 2011 – after Qatar was selected as host – until 2022 in a two-tournament package. However, the Belgium-based brewer has faced uncertainty in recent months over the exact details of where it can serve and sell. Beer in Qatar.

In September, a deal was announced for beer with alcohol to be sold within the stadium’s confines before and after games. Only alcohol-free Bud Zero will be sold at stadium concourses for fans to drink in branded cups in their seats.

Last weekend, AB InBev was left stunned by a new policy insisted on by Qatari regulators to move beer stalls to less visible spots on the premises.

Budweiser is to be sold in the evenings only in the official FIFA Fan Zone in Albeda Park City, where up to 40,000 fans can gather to watch the games on big screens. The price is confirmed as $14 for the beer.

The company will be in a high-end hotel in Doha’s West Bay area with its own branded nightclub for the tournament.

At the W Hotel in Doha, workers continued to put together a Budweiser-themed bar planned for the site. Its familiar AB logo was plastered on the hotel’s columns and walls, with a reading: “The world is yours for the taking.”

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