Corporate hospitality exempt from alcohol ban at World Cup match venues

By Lisa James
Home » Corporate hospitality exempt from alcohol ban at World Cup match venues

The U-turn on the sale of alcohol at World Cup match venues in Qatar won’t apply in corporate hospitality.

The host country had agreed to relax its strict alcohol rules to allow Budweiser to be sold outside World Cup match venues – within the perimeter for ticketholders – as well as in dedicated fan zones, but alcohol won’t now be available at stadiums, except for spectators in corporate areas.

Beer will still be available in alcohol-serving fan zones after 6.30pm, according to reports.

The U-turn came 48 hours before the first game, between Qatar and Ecuador, on Sunday.

FIFA said: “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.”

It added the non-alcoholic Bud Zero would still be available.

Budweiser, which has exclusive rights to sell beer at World Cup matches, said: “Some of the planned stadium activations cannot move forward due to circumstances beyond our control.”

According to reports, a tweet from the official Budweiser account on Friday morning said simply: “Well, this is awkward…”.

The message was quickly deleted.

The Football Supporters’ Association, which represents fans in England and Wales, said the change of policy showed a ‘total lack of communication and clarity from the organising committee towards supporters’.

“Some fans like a beer at the match, and some don’t, but the real issue is the last minute U-turn which speaks to a wider problem,” it said in a statement.

“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.”

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