Qatar bans alcohol at World Cup stadiums

There will be no deliberation about how Qatar bans alcohol at World Cup stadiums; the beer tents have to be moved and there will be no beer inside stadiums, is the directive from the highest echelons of the Qatari state. As the World Cup’s opening match approaches quickly, Qatari organizers have been scrambling recently to move Budweiser-branded beer stations at eight stadiums in response to an unexpected request that three people with knowledge of the belated change said had originated from within the nation’s royal family.

The choice to relocate the beer kiosks appears to have been made out of fear that the heavy use of alcohol at stadiums during the month-long World Cup would disturb the local populace and pose a potential security risk. But it also brought to light a topic that has dogged the preparations for the first World Cup in the Arab region and is anticipated to be divisive throughout the competition in Qatar, a devout Muslim nation where alcohol availability is strictly regulated.

Since FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, granted Qatar the hosting rights in December 2010, tournament organizers have struggled to strike a balance between their commitments to sell alcohol and accommodate Budweiser, one of FIFA’s biggest sponsors, and worries about upsetting or alienating a domestic audience that has objected to some of the cultural clashes involved in bringing a traditionally beer-soaked event to their country.

Every four years, Budweiser pays around $75 million to be associated with the World Cup. The World Cup in Qatar, however, has created unexpected challenges and resulted in continuous disputes between the corporation and FIFA over matters like deciding on sales locations in Qatar and arranging supply routes into the nation.

Rox and Ken what can be done by beer selling sponsors to still recoup their investments and how big of a mess this World Cup has become.

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