Organizers of the 2022 FIFA World Cup made a jarring announcement on Friday: no beer.
Just two days before the tournament begins, FIFA revealed that no beer will be available at and around the eight stadiums in Qatar. The host country was originally allowing beer despite its tight alcohol policies.
“Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus on the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations, and licensed venues,” a FIFA statement reads.
Budweiser, the tournament’s exclusive beer sponsor, will continue to sell its alcohol-free Bud Zero product.
- Budweiser’s deal is reportedly worth $75 million for every World Cup cycle. The company has been a World Cup sponsor since 1986.
- There had already been reported tension between Budweiser and FIFA about how to get supplies into Qatar.
Alcoholic beer will still be allowed after 6:30 p.m. in specific permitted fan zones in the country, and there will still be zones for intoxicated fans to sober up.
The announcement comes days after demands — reportedly from the country’s royal family — to move beer tents to more obscure locations. An official told the New York Times that the governing body agreed to it amid concerns of full tent shutdowns.
There is one exception to the rule.
An official FIFA Champagne, beer, and other drinks — including wines — will reportedly be available in stadium luxury suites reserved for FIFA officials and wealthy guests.