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Qatar bans beer at the FIFA World Cup

Move flattens Budweiser’s $75 million sponsorship deal with the football governing body.

Qatar has banned beer sales at and around the eight stadiums set to host the FIFA World Cup matches. It has permitted the sale of only non-alcoholic beer.

Beer will sell at fan parks away from the stadiums but consumption are the highest inside and around the stadiums and also bring in the most revenue.

FIFA released 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 announcement impacts Budweiser which had the exclusive rights to sell beer at the tournament. The New York Times says the beer giant “pays FIFA $75 million for each four-year World Cup cycle.”

Also Read: Budweiser India cracks open its FIFA World Cup strategy

It has been a sponsor of the marquee event for the last 35 years and the ban means FIFA will be in breach of the sponsorship.

"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,” a source told Reuters under the conditions of anonymity. "The thinking was that, for many fans, the presence of alcohol would not create an enjoyable experience."

The FIFA World Cup guide says ticket holders will have access to Budweiser, Budweiser Zero, and Coca-Cola products within the stadium perimeter at the Brand Activation Areas three hours prior to kick-off when the gates open and one hour after the final whistle.

However, all of this may not matter because the iconic red fridges cooling the Budweiser beer will disappear and blue fridges selling Budweiser 0.0 will end up taking their place.

Photo courtesy: Victor Freitas at Pexels

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