DOHA Nov 18 (Reuters) - Alcoholic beer will not be sold at Qatar's World Cup stadiums, world soccer governing body FIFA said on Friday, a last minute reversal which raised questions among some supporters about the host country's ability to deliver on promises to fans.
"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," a FIFA spokesperson said in a statement.
[1/3] Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, Doha, Qatar - November 18, 2022 Budweiser tents are pictured outside the stadium ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 REUTERS/Hannah Mckay.
"Tournament organisers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continuous support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the FIFA World Cup," the statement said.
The stadium reversal comes after long-term negotiations between FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Budweiser, and executives from Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), which is organising the World Cup, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
"A larger number of fans are attending from across the Middle East and South Asia, where alcohol doesn’t play such a large role in the culture," the source said.
Budweiser will sell its non-alcoholic beer throughout the stadium precincts for $8.25 per half-litre, the statement said.
Alcohol is sold in bars at some hotels, where beer costs around $15 per half-litre.
Budweiser will still sell alcoholic beer at the main FIFA Fan Fest in central Doha, the source said, where it is offered for about $14 per half-litre.