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Qatar bans alcohol at World Cup venues to avoid liquor-fueled ‘hooliganism’

FIFA and Qatar have banned alcohol sales in and around the eight World Cup stadiums, a move that comes in light of avoiding hooliganism and drunken rowdiness among football fans.

Football’s world governing body said on Friday that the decision was taken following discussions with the World Cup hosts. 

Three days earlier, the Qatari authorities had ordered all alcohol stalls dotting the game venues to be moved to less visible areas, according to a Qatar-based media organisation.

“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 Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022- stadium perimeters,” said FIFA in a press statement on Friday.

“Host country authorities and FIFA will continue to ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide an enjoyable, respectful and pleasant experience for all fans.”

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Many business experts say the ban is likely to affect FIFA’s $75 million sponsorship contract with major American beer company Budweiser and its parent organisation Ab InBev. 

Instead of red alcoholic beverages, Budweiser will have to sell its non-alcoholic products. Hence, the venues that featured the company’s red refrigerators will now have to install blue ones, its colour code for nonalcoholic products. 

In the FIFA statement, Ab InBev was appreciated for understanding the circumstances and supporting FIFA’s “commitment to cater for everyone during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022”.

Qatar has predicted that more than one million fans will visit the country for the 29-day tournament. 

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