Exclusive-Soccer-Qatar to allow the sale of beer at World Cup matches 3 hours before kick-off

Exclusive-Soccer-Qatar to allow the sale of beer at World Cup matches 3 hours before kick-off

Exclusive-Soccer-Qatar to allow the sale of beer at World Cup matches 3 hours before kick-off

By Andrew Mills

DOHA (Reuters) – Qatar will allow fans with tickets to buy alcoholic beer at World Cup football matches that begin three hours before kick-off and for one hour after final whistle, but not during the match. , a source familiar with plans for the tournament said.

Budweiser, a major World Cup sponsor with exclusive rights to sell beer at the tournament, will serve beer within the ticketed perimeter that surrounds 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 the organizers of an event sponsored by a major beer brand and often associated with beer enthusiasts.

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

Additionally, Budweiser will be able to serve beer in a part of the main FIFA fan zone in central Doha from 6:30 pm to 1:00 am 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 that fans will be charged for a beer is still up for debate, the source said.

“We are working closely with FIFA, which is managing relations with the Qatari authorities, to ensure that our activations for the tournament are carried out in compliance and in compliance with local rules and regulations,” said a spokesperson for the brewer Budweiser AB InBev in an e-mailed statement. .

Qatar World Cup organizers, the Supreme Delivery and Inheritance Committee, did not respond to requests for comment on World Cup alcohol controls. The Qatari government press office addressed the requests to the Supreme Committee.

There are four matches scheduled on most days of the group stage of the tournament, with the first match starting at 1pm

It was not immediately clear how Qatar will handle beer sales ahead of the 1pm match between Wales and Iran on Friday 25 November, when most Muslims in Qatar will gather in mosques for the congregation’s weekly prayer.

Qatar currently requires the closure of most of the country’s shops and restaurants during Friday prayers.

Questions have arisen about the role alcohol would play at this year’s World Cup since Qatar won hosting rights in 2010. While not a “dry” state like neighboring Saudi Arabia, alcohol consumption in places public is illegal in Qatar.

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

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

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

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

“Our promotion and activation of Budweiser Zero during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar will appeal to international guests who will come to enjoy and celebrate football on fan sites.”

(Reporting by Andrew Mills; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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