Qatari organizers are shifting gears just days before the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In September, organizers finalized a policy to serve alcoholic beer to fans at stadiums and in fan zones — despite Qatar’s strict alcohol laws.
Now, organizers are reportedly scrambling to move the stations to obscure locations ahead of this Sunday’s opening ceremony, following demands from the country’s royal family — who are concerned alcohol stations would unsettle the local population, per the New York Times.
Budweiser, the World Cup’s exclusive beer and longtime sponsor, was only told about the changes on Saturday.
- The company reportedly pays roughly $75 million for a World Cup presence every four years.
- There is reported tension with FIFA on sales points and how to get supplies into Qatar.
- A Budweiser spokeswoman said its “focus is on delivering the best possible consumer experience,” but wouldn’t say if its contract rights are being fulfilled.
“Pouring times and the number of pouring destinations” are the same, an organizing committee representative said.
An official told the New York Times that FIFA agreed to move the tents amid concerns of full tent shutdowns if they didn’t.
As organizers worry about the logistics, teams and fans worry about the organizers — Qatar has a record of alleged human rights abuses.