According to a source with knowledge of the soccer tournament’s arrangements, Qatar’s World Cup stadium stands are expected to remain alcohol-free, with beer sales outside arenas only permitted before and after some matches.
Since this year’s World Cup is the first to take place in a Muslim nation with strict alcohol laws, organisers of an event frequently associated with beer-drinking supporters and supported by international brewing corporations face special difficulties.
The designs for stadiums are still being finalised, but the current proposal is to permit supporters to drink beer while entering and exiting the stadium, but not while the game is taking place or inside the stadium bowl, the person told Reuters.
The first information about how organisers want to meet the needs of an expected 1.2 million soccer fans, many of whom are accustomed to drinking beer without limits on game days, comes from a document dated June 2 and seen by Reuters.
Due to pressure from the sport’s governing body FIFA, Brazil overturned a long-standing prohibition on alcohol in stadiums in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup.
Since the Gulf Arab nation secured the hosting rights in 2010, there has been uncertainty regarding alcohol at this year’s competition. Although Qatar is not a ‘dry’ state like its neighbour Saudi Arabia, it is nonetheless against the law to drink in public areas there.
However, in select areas of the major FIFA fan zone in the Al Bidda park in Doha, the Qatari capital, supporters will also be permitted to purchase beer during specific hours during the World Cup in November.
Beer would only be served at specific hours, unlike past World Cup fan zones, the insider continued.
The document states that there will be alcohol accessible for 15,000 to 20,000 spectators on a vacant portion of the Doha Golf Club, some distance from the stadiums and the major spectator area.
The paper also mentions the construction of a 10,000-person arena with Techno music and alcohol on a sandy plot bounded by a 3-meter wall between a hotel delivery entrance and a district cooling plant.
A representative for the event’s organisers, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, indicated that they and FIFA would ‘in due course’ make an announcement regarding the 28-day competition’s alcohol policy.
‘In Qatar, alcohol is already sold in places like hotels and bars, and this situation won’t change in 2022. Alcohol will be sold in additional specified places throughout the event in 2022 to accommodate visiting spectators,’ added the spokeswoman.