Qatar’s World Cup stadium stands are set to be alcohol-free, with beer sales outside arenas only allowed before and after some matches, a source with knowledge of plans for the soccer tournament said.
This year’s World Cup is the first to be held in a Muslim country with strict controls on alcohol, presenting unique challenges for organizers of an event often associated with beer-drinking fans and sponsored by global brewing brands.
“At stadiums, the plans are still being finalized, but the current discussion is to allow fans to have beer upon arrival and when leaving the stadium, but beer won’t be served during the match or inside the stadium bowl,” the source told Reuters.
A document dated June 2 and seen by the publication gives the first insight into how organizers plan to handle the demands of an estimated 1.2 million soccer fans, many of whom are used to drinking beer without limits on match days.
Soccer’s relationship with booze has long been a tricky one and in the lead-up to the 2014 World Cup, Brazil lifted a ban on alcohol at stadiums, after pressure from governing body FIFA.
There has been a question mark over alcohol at this year’s tournament since the Gulf Arab state won hosting rights in 2010. While not a “dry” state like neighboring Saudi Arabia, consuming alcohol in public places is illegal in Qatar.