Written by on November 18, 2022

In what seemed to be a reversal, alcohol will not be sold at Qatar’s World Cup stadiums, the world soccer governing body FIFA said in a statement on Friday.

The announcement comes two days before Sunday’s kickoff of the World Cup, the first to be held in a conservative Muslim country with strict controls on alcohol, the consumption of which is banned in public places.

The statements by FIFA spokesperson reads:

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.

The reversal of that policy comes after long-term negotiations between FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Budweiser, and executives from Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), which is organising the World Cup.

There have been growing concerns over a myriad of issues relating to the host Qatar, being a very conservative Muslim country, especially its stance on human rights, with many fears over its reception of LGTBQ+ fans and visitors alike over the period of the Mundial.

Questions have swirled around the role alcohol would play at this year’s World Cup since Qatar won hosting rights in 2010. While not a “dry” state like neighbouring Saudi Arabia, consuming alcohol in public places is illegal in Qatar.

Thousands of migrant workers are alleged to have died whilst building the infrastructure for the tournament, while homosexuality is banned outrightly in Qatar.

Earlier, FIFA president had sent letters urging participating countries to focus more on the game itself and respect the stance of other countries on certain grey issues and not allow themselves to be used to push political ideologies, stating the body(FIFA) is not political.

A passage from the letter reads:

Everyone is welcome regardless of origin, background, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or nationality.

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