The 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar kicks off on November 20, and fans have started to flock to the host country. However, controversies continue to explode, especially those surrounding the restrictions that are being imposed in the strict Muslim nation. The most recent problem came to light after it appears as though beer will no longer be sold in the stadiums contrary to earlier plans.
One million visitors are expected to descend upon Qatar, which is a conservative number compared to previous editions of the FIFA World Cup. Now, it seems as though there will be a million very sober fans attempting to enjoy the matches.
According to The Guardian, Qatar is currently pressuring FIFA to completely stop the plans to sell beer at eight stadiums that will be used during the event. Initial plans revealed that beer will be sold outside match venues as well as fan zones and hotels where visitors will be staying.
Now, this has all changed and Budweiser has reportedly been told to relocate their selling stations to more hidden locations near venues. Not only are they being asked to move, it seems there are plans to ban the sale of beer altogether.
FIFA is expected to resist, with Budweiser one of their biggest sponsors. Discussions are reportedly ongoing between the parties involved, and a decision will be announced on Friday.
Budweiser parent company AB InBev issued a statement confirming that they have been told to move their outlets: “AB InBev was informed on 12 November and are working with FIFA to relocate the concession outlets to locations as directed. We are working with FIFA to bring the best possible experience to the fans. Our focus is on delivering the best possible consumer experience under the new circumstances.”
Meanwhile, there are major concerns about the costs as well, with Budweiser planning to sell 500ml beers for £11.60. This price will go up to approximately £12-£15 for a beer or a glass of wine if guests are only able to drink at hotel bars. Drinking outside of designated places can lead to fines of around 800 euros and offenders may be arrested and detained.
Apart from the restrictions on alcohol, drug use can send a visitor to prison for 15 years.
Moving on to less serious offences, women are particularly vulnerable to falling foul of the law. Low-cut necklines are banned and women are expected to cover their shoulders and legs. Public displays of affection are also prohibited, while sexual relations between same-sex couples are punishable by prison sentences, torture and even the death penalty.