Dry stadiums at the Qatar World Cup 2022, football authorities confirm

Fifa on Friday said alcohol will not be sold in or around stadiums

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A last-minute decision by Fifa means the sale of alcoholic beverages in or around Qatari stadiums will be banned throughout the World Cup tournament, football officials announced on Friday.

The news came just 48 hours before kick-off between the host nation and Ecuador, after plans originally involved only the official sponsor, Budweiser, being allowed to set up scaled-down outlets inside the stadiums.

'Enjoyable, respectful and pleasant experience for all 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," world football's governing body said.

"There is no impact to the sale of Bud Zero, which will be 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 [continuing] support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022."

The sale of alcohol is strictly controlled in Qatar where, as in much of the region, drinking alcohol is not part of the local way of life.

Many fans from neighbouring Muslim countries are expected to attend the World Cup, and whereas alcohol-free fan zones have been set up to cater for these cultures, it would be difficult to avoid people who had been drinking while inside the stadium. Fifa's statement highlights the need for a peaceful and respectful experience for fans, suggesting their motivation was one of respect for the local culture.

Not uncommon practice

This is not the first time alcoholic beverages have been banned from football matches, even in the West.

Alcohol is not sold in any La Liga stadiums in Spain, nor is it available in French football stadiums and, until 2018, there had been a ban on alcohol sales at all Uefa competitions.

In 1985, the consumption of alcohol in the stands of English football grounds and stadium areas with views of the pitch was banned to maintain order and peace between fans.

Alcohol is banned at Scottish football grounds since trouble broke out at the 1990 Scottish Cup Final. Uefa tried to reverse the decision in 2020 but it was denied by the police.

Despite this, reaction online has been critical of Fifa, with many fans disappointed at the last-minute decision.

Updated: November 18, 2022, 1:07 PM