If you’re a big football fan, you probably already know that the FIFA World Cup is in Qatar this November. Until recently, though, there’s been a question about whether or not spectators will be allowed to enjoy the typical ice-cold alcoholic beverages (namely, beer) they usually drink during the World Cup.
This is because Qatar is a majority Muslim country, and since alcohol is prohibited by the majority of Muslims, the country has strict rules about what kinds of alcohol can be consumed and where. But the organizers of the event just came out and said that they were going to allow beer sales in the stadium perimeter and at the nearby festival for three hours before kickoff and one hour after the last whistle.
This kind of decision is part of the deal when a country bids to host something like the World Cup. See, FIFA has a bunch of sponsors, one of the biggest being Budweiser. So on its end, its sponsors must get the sales they expect from this kind of event. Qatar isn’t the first country to change its rules for the World Cup, though – back when Brazil hosted the Cup, it changed its rules to allow alcohol sales at sports venues, which isn’t typically allowed at football games in the country.
Budweiser will be sold “within the stadium perimeter prior to kickoff and after the final whistle,” said FIFA in a statement. “Inside the stadium bowl, ticket holders will have access to non-alcoholic Budweiser Zero,” and “at the FIFA Fan Festival, Budweiser will be available to purchase from 6:30 p.m.”
“We are working closely with FIFA, which is managing the relationship with the Qatari authorities, to ensure our activations for the tournament are executed respectfully and in compliance with local rules and regulations,” a spokesperson for Budweiser brewer AB InBev said in an emailed statement.
“It is important to remember that the entire bid process of the FIFA World Cup is designed to deliver the kind of World Cup experience that all fans from around the world have a reason to expect and to look forward to,” said Jaime Byrom, the executive chairman of MATCH Hospitality in an interview with The Associated Press.