As reported by the New York Times, organisers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which is set to get underway on Sunday evening, have scaled back their plans to allow the consumption of alcohol around games at the tournament.
According to sources contacted by the American outlet, Budweiser branded beer tents stationed outside stadia have been hurriedly moved to less obvious locations at short notice at the request of a member of the Qatari royal family. Budweiser reportedly only learned of the change on Saturday evening which was supposedly made over fears that obvious alcohol use would upset the local population and therefore pose a security threat in a country where alcohol is usually strictly controlled. The relaxing of those rules associated with the World Cup has been controversial in Qatar and the Middle East generally.
Beforehand, it has eventually been agreed that beer would only be sold in a small area outside each stadium but not inside. However, those restrictions have lead to unease between FIFA and the beer brand who pay over £60m per tournament to be associated with the World Cup. Both tournament organisers and Budweiser have played down the change via statements, although the World Cup authority’s failed to mention “beer” at all. However, the NYT report states that FIFA and Budweiser only agreed to the change because the alternative was the beer’s complete removal.