Visiting football fans could be prevented from purchasing beer at World Cup stadiums as the Qatari royal family are reportedly pushing for a complete ban. That would put FIFA in a sticky situation with drinks company Budweiser, who remain one of the tournament’s main sponsors.
Supporters were already dealt one blow earlier this week when it emerged that World Cup organisers had backtracked on promises to relax the high prices on beer during the tournament. Alcohol is generally tricky to come by in Qatar aside from a selection of hotel bars, that charge a premium price.
In designated fan parks, supporters will have to pay £11.60 for a 500ml glass of Budweiser, which will be the only beer available. According to The Times, Qatar chiefs are now pushing for a ban on purchasing beer inside World Cup stadiums.
The rules regarding alcohol at stadiums were not set in stone but a further lack of visibility and accessibility for Budweiser could create problems between the drinks company and FIFA, with the pair currently bound by a multi-million dollar contract.
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Thousands of fans have already made the trek to Qatar with England taking part in the tournament’s second match. First up on Monday, the Three Lions face a deceptively tough task by taking on Iran, who have beaten Uruguay and drawn with Sadio Mane’s Senegal over the past few weeks.
Ties against the United States and Wales are also on the horizon and Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad are already acclimatising to their new surroundings, having landed in Qatar on Tuesday. Speaking earlier this week, the England boss explained how he hopes to tap into the excitement and aspirations that players may have held during their younger years.
“We want the players to feel that enthusiasm that they’ve had since kids,” he explained. “We want to fuel that. The first couple of days we won’t be on the training pitch, bar a couple [of players] that will need to do something.
“We want them to transition from a hectic club schedule to thinking about England. We want to talk to them about the fact that this, whatever happens over the next four weeks, has been the second-best period for English football. We can make it the best.”