World Cup organizers on Friday banned alcoholic sales around stadiums in a stunning U-turn just two days before kickoff.
Football’s world governing body FIFA said beer would not be sold to fans around any of the eight World Cup stadiums following discussions with the hosts country Qatar.
“A decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations, and licensed venues, removing sales points of beer from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters,” FIFA said in a statement released.
Alcohol is largely prohibited in Qatar but the organizers sparked anger from fans with their dramatic decision.
Dozens of Budweiser beer joints had already been set up ahead of the first game on Sunday between Qatar and Ecuador.
Beer will remain available in VIP suites in stadiums, in some fan zones, and some hotel and restaurant bars.
The Football Supporters’ club, which represents fans from European countries, criticized the move, saying it was a total lack of communication with supporters from the organizers.
“If they can change their minds on this at a moment’s notice, with no explanation, supporters will have understandable concerns about whether they will fulfill other promises relating to accommodation, transport or cultural issues,” it said in a statement.