Fans understanding of World Cup stadium beer ban
Qatar’s decision to ban beer sales at World Cup stadiums was generally met with sympathy by fans on the Doha corniche on Friday (November 18).
Organisers of the tournament made the unexpected announcement after previously saying there would be opportunity to purchase Budweiser – FIFA’s beer partner – during matches.
Supporters who spoke to Reuters were understanding of the decision.
“I think we should enjoy the game with or without it, in the end it is a party for everyone,” said Omar Lopez, an Ecuador fan. "I think if they did it has something a lot to do with their religion and I respect that. Everyone is going to enjoy the game with or without it.”
A Qatari national who only gave his name as Saqr said: “You need to respect our tradition as alcohol is prohibited in Islam, so you cannot drink in front of Islamic people so we need people to respect our culture, but we respect their culture also, so we make some specific places, there you can drink a beer.”
However Nahir Nieto, from Argentina, insisted alcohol was a World Cup essential.
"You share beers with friends, with family when you are happy," she said. "And Argentina is very happy today because we are at a World Cup, we really want to win so (beer) is unmissable. It is like a bottle of water when you are in the middle of the desert. For sure, we had the idea there would be beer. I am not sure what is going to happen."
The reversal permits World Cup sites to sell only non-alcoholic beverages, which represents a reversal of an agreement that approved international sponsor Budweiser to sell at all events.
"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 the sales points of beer from Qatar's FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters," FIFA said on Friday.
Approved "fan zones" near the stadium can still sell alcoholic beverages. Fans found attempting to bring their own alcohol into stadiums will be barred from the game and tournament.