A day after Qatar, the host country for this year’s soccer World Cup, banned the sale of beer at World Cup stadiums, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said fans could ‘survive’ without alcohol for three hours. The much-anticipated football tournament will kick off on Sunday, November 20, where it will face the host country, Ecuador.
Qatar is the first country in the Middle East to host the World Cup. The sale of alcohol is strictly controlled in Qatar, where it is strictly forbidden to drink alcohol in public places. Earlier, official sponsor Budweiser was allowed to sell beer at official World Cup venues in Qatar.
Speaking at the inaugural press conference in Doha, Infantino said, “We tried until the very end to see if it was possible to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages.” “If you can’t drink beer for three hours a day, you’ll live. Maybe there’s a reason why alcohol isn’t allowed in stadiums in France, Spain and Scotland. Maybe they (the Qataris) are smarter than us, I think maybe we should.”
According to the revised rules, fans and spectators can drink alcoholic beer in the evening at the FIFA Fan Fest, a dedicated party area that also offers live music and activities.
Also read: FIFA World Cup in Qatar: Find out about the host country, opening match, teams, ticket prices and more
The ban came as a huge shock to official sponsor of US-based beer giant Budweiser, which reportedly pumped $75 million as part of its sponsorship agreement with FIFA. And now, when she’s not allowed to sell her product or get any visibility at matches, her brand value will suffer. This would be a complete breach of a multi-million dollar contract signed by FIFA and the beverage company.
The FIFA president noted on Saturday that even in previous editions of the World Cup, the hosts had been asked to make concessions. As in 2014, Brazil had to change a law allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages in stadiums.
Earlier today, Argentina forward Lionel Messi and six other players were reported to have missed Argentina’s training camp at Qatar University as many feared the footballer might be injured.
The 35-year-old footballer is Argentina’s captain and biggest hope for the upcoming tournament. The South American country hasn’t managed to win its first title since 1986, when superstar Diego Maradona led them to glory in Mexico. Many believe that Messi is pushing the last World Cup, it is time for Messi to end the trophy drought in the country.
Later in the day, Argentine outlet Ole was reported to have said that the PSG star had been part of a “special” program in the gym, tailored specifically for him to prevent any risk of injury ahead of the tournament.
Also read: Who will win the 2022 World Cup? Brazil are the favorites, and Messi may score the most goals