FIFA President Gianni Infantino stated on Saturday that World Cup fans can go three hours without beer after sales were prohibited near stadiums.
“I think personally if for three hours a day you cannot drink a beer, you will survive,” he told his opening press conference in Doha. “The same applies in France, Spain, Scotland.”
In a surprising U-turn just 48 hours before the start of the World Cup, World Cup officials banned beer sales near stadiums in Qatar on Friday.
Although alcohol is generally outlawed in the Islamic country, the organizers’ unexpected late choice enraged followers.
Following consultations with the hosts, FIFA announced that beer will not be sold to supporters near any of the eight World Cup stadiums.
Alcohol sales would be concentrated in fan zones and licensed venues, with the goal of “removing beer sales points from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters.”
It gave no reason for the unexpected decision, but media reports said Qatar’s ruling family intervened.
Dozens of Budweiser beer tents had already been set up on the grounds ahead of the first game.
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