This was after a shock announcement today revealed alcohol is banned from all stadiums.
England fans already in Qatar have slammed FIFA as a ‘disgrace’ for the unexpected booze ban only 48 hours before the World Cup kicks off, adding that attending the tournament ‘feels like Big Brother’ is in charge.
Only a few hundred England fans were in Doha when FIFA announced that alcohol would not be sold on stadium concourses after coming under pressure from the Qatari Royal family.
The ban came as a shock to most fans after FIFA had previously reassured them that despite the country’s strict alcohol laws, they would be able to purchase it while enjoying the games. But those fortunate enough to be sat in corporate boxes, where tickets cost more than $22,450 each, will still be able to enjoy an array of alcoholic drinks.
Qatar enforces an extremely strict interpretation of Islam which restricts women’s rights and criminalises members of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as banning public displays of affection and public alcohol consumption.
It is somewhat of an embarrassment for FIFA after Budweiser was announced as one of the sponsors for the tournament, and had been granted a monopoly to sell beer at the stadiums. It will now only be able to sell its alcohol-free version of beer there.
It was to sell alcoholic beer within the ticketed perimeter surrounding each of the eight stadiums three hours before and one hour after each game.
England fans said the tournament has been ‘ruined’ and FIFA should not have ‘given in’, complaining they would not have spent thousands of pounds on tickets and flights if they had known about the ban beforehand.
Qatar had previously promised to respect the tournament’s sponsors.
It is just the latest controversy surrounding this year’s world cup following the scandal over the deaths of more than 6,000 migrant workers while building the stadiums and the appalling state of LGBT+ rights in the country.
Celebrities including comedian and QI star Alan Davies have been vocal critics of this year’s tournament, as Mr Davies tweeted: ‘All football stopped as a mark of respect when Her Majesty the Queen died but we carry on with the Qatar World Cup when over six thousand migrant workers are dead. No one should go there.’