World Cup organizers in Qatar have been accused of “utter hypocrisy” after banning fans from drinking beer in and around the country’s stadiums during the tournament. The sale of alcohol is strictly controlled in Qatar, which had to relax its regulations to allow FIFA sponsor Budweiser to sell beer outside stadiums and in fan zones.
This measure was partially reversed on Friday with only two days before the start of the World Cup and many fans having already traveled to the country under the impression that they would be allowed to drink. Qatari officials have since come under fire after video footage taken by The Mirror showed FIFA delegates and guests indulging in expensive champagne at a lavish party after the World Cup draw earlier This year.
England boss Gareth Southgate was among the revelers at the post-draw rally, with attendees enjoying a selection of alcoholic drinks despite regular fans not being able to drink beer in the Cup stadiums of the world. A number of drunken delegates reportedly invaded the stage to burst into a chorus of: “Ole, ole, ole, Qatar, Qatar”, while a waitress reportedly said: “French champagne is expensive and they all drink it. like water. They don’t care.
The footage has sparked fury from supporters en route to the World Cup, with England fan Neal Weekes being one of many Qatar supporters with an uncompromising view of the matter. He said: “They threaten us with not having beer before games, it’s outrageous. It’s one rule for them and one for us. It’s always the diehard fans who miss out. Total hypocrisy, it’s a shame.”
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A FIFA statement released on Friday confirmed that beer would not be sold in stadiums in Qatar during the World Cup after a last-minute reversal of their previous plans. It read: “Following discussions between the authorities of the host country and FIFA, a decision has been taken to concentrate the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup stadium beer outlets.
“There is no impact on the sale of Bud Zero which will remain available at all World Cup stadiums in Qatar. The host country authorities and FIFA will continue to ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide an enjoyable, respectful and enjoyable experience for all fans.
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“The tournament organizers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continued support of our shared commitment to keep everyone happy during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”
Alcohol is generally banned in Qatar unless consumed in hotel bars or restaurants away from the streets, although World Cup fans are still allowed to drink in fan areas after 6:30 p.m. Drunk fans will even be sent to specialist areas to sober up if they are deemed intoxicated by country officials.
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