Qatar to allow sale of beer at World Cup matches 3 hours before kick-off – source

Budweiser, a major World Cup sponsor with exclusive rights to sell beer at the tournament, will serve beer within the ticketing perimeter surrounding each stadium, but not in the stands or stadium lobby, the source said. .

This year’s World Cup is the first to be held in a Muslim country with strict alcohol controls, presenting unique challenges for organizers of an event sponsored by a major beer brand and often associated with beer drinkers. beer.

“The beer will be available when the gates open, which is three hours before kick-off. Anyone who wants to have a beer can do so. And then when they leave the stadium also for an hour after. the final whistle,” the source said.

Additionally, Budweiser will be allowed to serve beer in part of the main FIFA fan zone in central Doha from 6:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. every day of the 29-day tournament, which kicks off on November 20, the source said. .

In previous World Cup tournaments, beer was served in fan zones all day.

The decision on where and when the beer will be sold to fans is now finalized, but the price fans will be charged for a beer is still under discussion, the source said.

“We are working closely with FIFA, who manage relations with the Qatari authorities, to ensure that our activations for the tournament are executed with respect and in accordance with local rules and regulations,” a spokesperson for the brewer said. Budweiser AB InBev in an emailed statement. .

Qatar’s World Cup organizers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, did not respond to requests for comment on the World Cup’s alcohol controls. The Qatar government’s media office made requests to the Supreme Committee.

There are four matches scheduled on most days of the tournament’s group stage, with the first match starting at 1 p.m.

It was not immediately clear how Qatar will handle beer sales ahead of the 1 p.m. game between Wales and Iran on Friday November 25, when most Muslims in Qatar will gather in mosques for prayers. congregation weekly.

Qatar currently requires most shops and restaurants in the country to close during Friday prayers.

Questions have swirled around what role alcohol will play at this year’s World Cup since Qatar was awarded the hosting rights in 2010. Although not a “dry” state “Like neighboring Saudi Arabia, drinking alcohol in public places is illegal in Qatar.

Visitors cannot bring alcohol into Qatar, even from the duty-free airport, and they cannot buy alcohol from the country’s only liquor store on the outskirts of Doha. Only foreign residents with a permit can do their shopping there for domestic consumption.

Visitors can drink at a few dozen hotels and licensed clubs, where a pint of beer can cost $18.

Budweiser will sell its non-alcoholic beer, Budweiser Zero, in stadium lobbies and stands during games and at other fan sites, the source said.

“We always respect local customs and culture in the markets in which we operate or hold events,” an AB InBev spokesperson told Reuters in an emailed statement.

“Our promotion and Budweiser Zero activation during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar will target international guests coming to enjoy and celebrate football at fan sites.”

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