On beer ban at World Cup 2022, FIFA President says fans ‘can survive’ without it

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The countdown for the biggest football tournament has begun. FIFA World Cup will start on 20 November and the first match will be played between Qatar and Ecuador. Qatar as a host for the tournament has attracted a lot of media coverage, especially for its decision to ban beer sales around football stadiums. FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Saturday reacted to the beer ban and said that football fans ‘can survive’ without beer for three hours.

“I think personally if for three hours a day you cannot drink a beer, you will survive. The same applies in France, Spain, Scotland,” he told his opening press conference in Doha.

On Friday, Qatar decided to ban the sale of beer around football stadiums. The decision came after some tensions between the host country and FIFA, the football governing council. The decision was criticized for being a U-turn from the earlier position as the country’s Supreme Committee on Delivery and Legacy promised that alcohol will be available during the tournament at designated “fan zones.”

The problem became complex as Budweiser, a beer-selling company is a sponsor of the FIFA World Cup. Initially, the decision was to allow sales of only Budweiser beer at the World Cup venue, but later an ‘overall ban’ was announced.

Budweiser also reacted to the decision on Friday and said the restrictions at World Cup matches were “beyond our control.” FIFA and Budweiser maker AB Inbev are in partnership since 1986, and the company tried to push for concessions, but now the comment of the FIFA President makes it clear that the decision of ban will be final.

“Tournament organizers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continued support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the FIFA World Cup,” the statement from FIFA said.

The action also indicates tensions around organizing the biggest football tournament in a conservative Muslim country, where consumption and sale of alcohol are largely restricted.

 

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