If the Qatari Officials have their way, alcohol will not be permitted in Public Places, Streets and will not be even served in stadiums during the 2022 World Cup, the head of the country’s tournament organizing committee said on Tuesday. Football Traditionalists are already unhappy that the tournament will be moved to the winter because of the fierce summer temperatures in Qatar, will be further alarmed by Hassan Al-Thawadi’s statement.
A ban on selling alcohol inside stadiums, there has long been speculation about what the conservative Muslim country would do on the tricky issue of alcohol for the World Cup. This could bring organizers into conflict with FIFA and powerful sponsors including beer giants Budweiser.
“We are against the provision of alcohol in stadiums and their surroundings. There will not be a total alcohol ban, but drinking will be permitted only in far-away places”, said Al-Thawadi, without going into details.
Drinking is not illegal in Qatar, and it is provided in all hotels, while expats who live in the Gulf Emirates can buy drink after applying for a license. Public drinking however is prohibited and bringing alcohol into the country is also prohibited.
The official said Qatar would resist changing the law in order to host the tournament, as has happened with previous World Cup hosts.
“I did not get into a discussion with FIFA on this matter and there has been great pressure from FIFA on Russia to change its laws,” he said.
“But our position is clear – we will legalize according to Qatari law and commensurate with the customs and traditions.”
In the build up to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 2014, it was widely reported that FIFA demanded alcohol be served at stadiums, which was against Brazilian law at the time.
Even though the South Americans relented, it is a growing concern in Qatar about the link between alcohol and the behavior of fans, especially following clashes at the Euros in France earlier this year, mostly by Russian Fans.
While It was concluded the inhibition on alcohol was the reason for the clashes during the Euros in France.
Al-Thawadi also reiterated that drunken fans during the 2022 World Cup would be treated “gently”. It has been estimated by organizers that up to one million fans could descend on Qatar for the 2022 tournament.
Many of these could stay in hotels, specially designed campsites and cruise ships.