FIFA President Gianni Infantino stated on Saturday that World Cup spectators may go three hours without beer after sales were prohibited near stadiums.
“I personally believe that if you cannot drink a beer for three hours a day, you will live,” he said at his inaugural news conference in Doha. “The same is true in France, Spain, and Scotland.”
In a surprising U-turn only 48 hours before the start of the World Cup, World Cup officials prohibited alcohol sales near stadiums in Qatar on Friday.
Although alcohol is generally outlawed in the Islamic country, the organizers’ unexpected late choice enraged followers. Following negotiations with the FIFA, the international governing body of football announced that alcohol will not be served to supporters near any of the eight World Cup venues.
It said beer sales would be focused on fan zones and licensed venues, “removing sales points of beer from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters.”
It gave no reason for the surprise decision but media reports said there had been an intervention by Qatar’s ruling family. Dozens of Budweiser beer tents had already been set up on the grounds ahead of the first game.