ARCHIV - 10.04.2022, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Bochum: Ein Fan hat seinen Becher mit Bier im Ruhrstadion abgestellt. (Illustration zu dpa «Bericht: Katar legt Bier-Politik fest - kein Ausschank im Stadion») Foto: Bernd Thissen/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

A cold beer late at night in the Al-Bait Stadium during the German group game against Spain – no problem, but only non-alcoholic. Eleven weeks before the start of the tournament, World Cup host Qatar and the world football association FIFA finalized their beer policy. Alcoholic beverages will be served before and after kick-off on stadium grounds and after 18.30 local time at Doha Fanfest. Behind this are also sales interests of a major FIFA sponsor.

FIFA has been working on the conditions “for local and international fans”, which includes hospitality for those “who want to enjoy an alcoholic drink and at the same time respect the local culture,” said the world association of the German Press Agency. The AP news agency first reported on it.

Unlike in neighboring Saudi Arabia, alcohol is not completely banned in Qatar, but it has only been served to a very limited extent, for example in bars or restaurants in certain hotels. Foreigners can also buy it from a licensed shop, but must be over 21 and have a permit to do so.

The serving at the Fanfest in the capital of the emirate, where the majority of the teams and fans will move into accommodation, was tested in 2019 at the Club World Cup in the Islamic-conservative country. At that time, half a liter of draft beer cost the equivalent of around 6.20 euros. Vodka, whiskey and gin were also on offer. A bottle of red wine cost the equivalent of about 27 euros.

With its efforts to allow alcoholic beer at least at certain times and in certain places, FIFA is protecting the interests of the brewery and group of companies Anheuser-Busch InBev, which has paid a lot of money for it for decades. In Qatar, Budweiser beer is served – or Budweiser Zero without alcohol.

The alcohol discussion also existed before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where a general ban on the stadiums for the tournament was overturned. Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said at the time that the alcohol ban was lifted as part of the guarantees Brazil made to FIFA when it won the 2007 World Cup.

In Qatar, fans of the 32 World Cup participants expect temperatures of around 25 degrees during the finals from November 20th to December 18th. According to FIFA, ticket sales have been successful so far, with 2.45 million tickets sold in mid-August. The next sales phase begins at the end of September. The national team fan club will set up its fan camp for the World Cup during the preliminary round matches of the DFB selection in Dubai.