FIFA may strictly limit alcohol sales at Qatar World Cup — report

Stadium stands in Qatar will most likely not be selling beer during World Cup matches, news agencies reported citing unnamed sources.

“At stadiums, the plans are still being finalized, but the current discussion is to allow fans to have beer upon arrival and when leaving stadium, but beer won’t be served during the match or inside the stadium bowl,” one source told the Reuters news agency.

The tournament is set to start in November this year and last for four weeks. It is the first football event of this scale to be held in the Middle East.

Qatar, a Muslim-majority country, only allows alcohol sales under strict limitations. Drinking alcohol in public places is illegal. The country has only one official liquor store, located outside Doha, where non-Muslim visitors can by alcohol — providing they have a special license.

Qatar expects over a million visitors for the World Cup this November

Alcohol for VIPs

FIFA’s website states there will be “beer, Champagne, sommelier-selected wines, and premium spirits” available in VIP lounges at the stadiums. For ordinary fans, however, beer would be sold outside stadiums before and after games, according to sources cited by the AFP. Some fan sites will only be able to sell alcohol between 10 p. m. and 1 a. m.

At the same time, the organizers will also set up a separate fan zone in central Doha for about 40,000 people, and vendors there would likely be allowed to offer alcohol without time restrictions. Two other smaller fan zones will also be allowed to serve alcohol throughout the day.

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What did FIFA say?

FIFA did not immediately comment on agency reports concerning their alcohol policy. Previously, the world football governing body said all details would be announced “in due course.”

“Alcohol is already available in designated areas in Qatar, such as hotels and bars, and this will not change,” a spokesperson said, pledging that liquor would be “available in additional designated areas during the tournament.”

Sources cited by the news agencies also say that the price of beer has not yet been set, although earlier reports speculated a pint of beer (0.57 liter) would cost around $6 (€5.9).

Some 1.2 millions fans are expected to attend the tournament in the gas-rich country.

dj/jcg (AFP, Reuters)