'Whole thing is a FARCE!' - football fans hit out as FIFA bans alcohol at Qatar World Cup in absurd U-turn

The sale of alcohol will be permitted at designated fan zones in Qatar throughout the World Cup, but not at stadiums.
The sale of alcohol will be permitted at designated fan zones in Qatar throughout the World Cup, but not at stadiums.

Foreigners in Qatar are typically only able to purchase alcohol in licensed premises

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Alcohol will no longer be sold in any of World Cup's eight stadiums in Qatar, after football governing body, FIFA made a U-turn on its policies just two days before the tournament commences.

An announcement on Friday morning confirmed that alcohol sales points will be prohibited from all eight World Cup stadiums.

"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,"

“There is no impact to the sale of Bud Zero which will remain available at all Qatar’s World Cup stadiums.

England fans will not be able to enjoy alcohol at the stadiums Qatar has to offer.
England fans will not be able to enjoy alcohol at the stadiums Qatar has to offer.

“Host country authorities and FIFA will continue to ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide an enjoyable, respectful and pleasant experience for all fans.

Meanwhile, Budweiser, one of FIFA's biggest World Cup sponsors with a deal reportedly in the region of over £75million, responded to the announcement in a now deleted tweet.

As things stand, fans will no longer be allowed to consume alcohol within the stadium perimeter, however corporate spectators are exempt from the rule. Supporters though will still be allowed to consume alcohol in designated FIFA fan zones.

The announcement from FIFA has put further scrutiny on the decision to appoint Qatar as hosts for the World Cup, with critics questioning the degree to which football’s governing body has control over the tournament.

Back in the UK, the Football Supporters’ Association has criticised the decision from the organisers.

“Some fans like a beer at a game and some don’t, but the real issue is the last-minute U-turn which speaks to a wider problem – the total lack of communication and clarity from the organising committee towards supporters,” a spokesperson said.

“If they can change their minds on this at a moment’s notice, with no explanation, supporters will have understandable concerns about whether they will fulfil other promises relating to accommodation, transport or cultural issues.”

Football fans have taken to social media to voice their displeasure at Qatar imposing an alcohol prohibition at its stadia for the World Cup, just two days before the tournament begins.

One Twitter user speaking on the alcohol ban, said: “Cancel it, whole thing is a farce.”

In a radical suggestion, a further user stated: “All countries should up and leave and play their own World Cup elsewhere.”

Another Twitter user commented: “It will be the worst fan experience ever. No one should bother going.”

Some have defended the position taken by Qatar, with one user commenting: “It’s protocol to not sell alcohol in stadiums anyway around much of Europe.”

Another user added: “Best news ever! So people can’t enjoy a football tournament without a beer?”

FIFA said in a statement: “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.

“There is no impact to the sale of Bud Zero which will remain available at all Qatar’s World Cup stadiums.

“Host country authorities and FIFA will continue to ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide an enjoyable, respectful and pleasant experience for all fans.

“The tournament organisers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continuous support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”

The World Cup will start on Sunday with a Group A fixture between Qatar and Ecuador by 4pm.