World Cup stadiums will reportedly be alcohol-free in Qatar
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar was bound to be different. Fans not being to able to buy alcohol while taking in the matches certainly qualifies.
According to a report from Reuters' Andrew Mills, all World Cup stadium stands will be alcohol-free this winter, with beer sales allowed outside arenas before and after some matches in the main FIFA fan zone in Doha.
Alcohol will also reportedly be for sale to fans in a corner of the Doha Golf Club, which is a number of kilometers away from the World Cup stadiums and main fan zone.
"At stadiums, the plans are still being finalised, but the current discussion is to allow fans to have beer upon arrival and when leaving stadium, but beer won't be served during the match or inside the stadium bowl," the source told Reuters.
Unlike Saudi Arabia, Qatar is not a completely dry country, but alcohol consumption is severely restricted. It can typically only be purchased at a select few bars and hotels, but public consumption is illegal and public drunkenness is a serious crime.
How FIFA would handle putting an event with an official beer sponsor — Budweiser, which probably isn't too happy with this decision — was one of the major questions facing the organization when it awarded the World Cup to Qatar back in 2010, under highly suspicious circumstances.
FIFA had reportedly been lobbying to allow in-stadium drinking, much like it did with Brazil despite a history of alcohol-fueled poor fan behavior, but was apparently unsuccessful.
It's not the first concession FIFA has had to make to hold the event in Qatar, as the event would probably be underway right now had it been awarded to any other country that bid for the 2022 event. The tournament was delayed to the winter to mitigate the infamous Qatari heat.