Seriously No Bud? World Cup Bans Beer Two Days Prior To Matches
There are plenty of reasons to question the Fédération Internationale de Football Association or FIFA, the governing body of professional soccer. The organization has been riddled controversy for decades. In 2015, more than two dozen FIFA officials were implicated in a 24-year corruption scandal that reached the highest levels of FIFA management. Bribery connected to the awarding of hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup to Russia and this year's 2022 World Cup to Qatar were big factors in the corruption. Now, two days prior to the start, fans are told they can not buy beer with alcohol in the stadium. What?
Sorry, but my vision of World Cup soccer matches includes people singing, drinking beers in the stands. I actually not to sure that one happens without the other. However, according to the Associated Press early Friday morning,
the sale of all beer with alcohol at the eight World Cup stadiums was banned. Bud-Zero, non-alcoholic beer will still be sold at the 64 matches in the country.
In a report by the Associated Press, FIFA said in a statement, “Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing sales points of beer from stadium perimeters." However, in good old hypocritical fashion, champagne, wine, whiskey and other alcohol will still be served in the luxury hospitality areas of the stadiums. Areas that fans with regular tickets cannot access.
Ab InBev, the parent company of World Cup beer sponsor Budweiser, pays tens of millions of dollars at each World Cup for exclusive rights to sell beer. Two days away from the event, the majority of Budweiser products have already been shipped from Britain to Qatar with the expectation of selling it to millions of fans. Budweiser's partnership with FIFA started at the 1986 tournament and they are in negotiations for renewing their deal for the next World Cup in North America. That should be a fun negotiation.
Qatar is an oil-rich Gulf Arab country. They claim to follow an ultraconservative form of Islam known as Wahhabism like neighboring Saudi Arabia. It is an autocracy governed by a hereditary emir, who has absolute say over all governmental decisions. However, hotels in Qatar serve alcohol and they will be serving alcohol to all of the dignitaries in luxury suites. So why ban beer two days prior to the event?
Simple, Qatar treats their people like crap. Their royal family could care less about the "common" fans. Thousands of migrant workers reportedly died during construction of World Cup infrastructure in Qatar. Human rights groups say workers were often forced to work under unsafe conditions, including in extreme heat. Wow, that's a great place to choose to hold the prestigious tournament. The World Cup is a great event but when you include the corruption in FIFA, the horrible autocracy of Qatar, and now no beer for the fans, you've lost me. We'll check in again in a few years.