Qataris press Fifa to stop selling beer at stadiums
Fifa was facing a potential legal claim from main sponsor Budweiser after the Qatari authorities demanded a ban on the US brewer’s beer at the eight stadiums hosting World Cup matches.
Ahead of the tournament kicking off this weekend fans are likely to be told they cannot buy beer at any games, only at the Doha fan parks.
Fifa now risks being in breach of contract if Budweiser is not allowed either to sell its product or have any visibility at the matches.
Alcohol is only normally available in Qatar in certain hotels in Doha, but appeared to have accepted the need to relax the law during the tournament.
The latest move instigated by the Qatari Royal Family means it is likely that alcohol will be available at stadiums in hospitality boxes.
This will restrict it to those who can afford the cost of a suite which starts at $22,450 (about £19,000) for one match.
Beer will cost almost £12 per pint at official venues, and fans will be limited to four drinks to stop them getting drunk.
Fifa has already made one concession this week to the Qatari hosts on the availability of Budweiser in stadiums.
The Qatar organisers insisted the Budweiser concession stands were too obtrusive. Fifa agreed to move them into positions where they would be less visible in a highly unusual change to a sponsorship agreement so close to the start of the tournament.
The New York Times reported that this order came from Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the brother of Qatar’s ruler.
Three months ago, Fifa also agreed to move the starting date of the event a day earlier so the hosts could be playing in the only match on the opening date.