World Cup host Qatar is set to ban all beer sales at and around its World Cup stadiums, in a dramatic U-turn just two days before the international football tournament begins, according to multiple media reports.
The Gulf nation does not fully ban alcohol for visitors, but its sale and consumption is strictly controlled.
The decision, which is expected to be announce by Qatari authorities on Friday, apparently throws the tournament’s $75 billion sponsorship by major beer-maker Budweiser into question.
According to two people reported to be familiar with the regulation, there has been a last-minute change of plan following concerns that Qataris would feel uncomfortable in places where people were drinking for up to three hours before matches.
Alcoholic drinks will now only be available in hospitality suites at stadiums and inside designated areas around Doha, such as the Fifa Fan Festival, where beer costs almost £12 a cup.
Alcohol-free beer will still be available at stadiums.
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