The New York Times and RMC Sport report that in a sensational u-turn, the organising committee of the Qatar World Cup has decided to ban the sale of alcohol inside and in the immediate perimeter outside of all the football stadia.
This decision has come as a result of a week of major tensions erupting between FIFA, its main alcohol sponsor (Budweiser) and the Qatari organising committee over the issue of alcohol in stadiums and FIFA grounds. There will now be no alcohol offered inside the stadiums (as well as immediately around them) during the World Cup in Qatar. It is not yet known whether the VIP and hospitality portions of stadiums will also be affected by these measures.
FIFA’s main alcohol sponsor will still be allowed to sell beer in the FIFA Fan Fest in Doha and some other fan zones. It’s really around the stadiums that things change. Alcohol remains available for consumption in hotels and at reserved venues throughout the year in Qatar.
Contacted, the organising committee has not yet given further information on this subject. A press release should come in the next few hours. Faced with the media noise that this announcement will cause, will Qatar change its mind before Sunday? Unlikely.