2022 World Cup: Alcohol to be served ‘in select areas’ of stadiums
Alcohol will be served “in select areas within stadiums” at this year’s Qatar World Cup, organisers have confirmed.
The Fifa event will be taking place in a Muslim country in the Middle East for the first time, and the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Islam.
A 40,000-capacity fan zone in the capital Doha has also been confirmed, where a drink can also be purchased.
“We want people to come and have experiences they will never forget,” CEO Nasser Al Khater told BBC Sport.
Al Khater said they are still “finalising our alcohol strategy” but this is the first time the Supreme Committee for Legacy and Delivery have publicly announced plans to allow fans to drink within the stadium perimeter.
Whether this will be in concourses or inside the stadium bowl itself is yet to be confirmed, but reports suggest ticket holders will be allowed to buy alcohol three hours before kick-off and one hour after the match, but not while the game is in progress.
It marks a significant relaxation of the rules for the tournament as Qatar – like other countries in the Middle East – has strict controls on alcohol and it is illegal to consume it in public.
Licensed hotel bars and restaurants are the only places that usually sell alcohol, but visitors during the tournament will also be able to purchase a beverage at the Fifa fan festival in Doha’s Al Bidda Park.
During the 2019 Fifa Club World Cup, which took place in Doha and was won by Liverpool, supporters were able to consume alcohol in a site just outside the city.
Al Khater said additional locations “will be communicated in due course”, adding: “While alcohol will be available to those who want a drink in designated areas, it will not be openly available on the streets.
“What we ask is that people, when they visit, stick to these designated areas.
“We are incredibly excited to be welcoming the world to Qatar and the Middle East and Arab world. For many people it will be their first opportunity to see and explore the region.
“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we are determined to use it to its fullest.”
Qatar has a population of just under three million and it is expected about 1.2 million visitors will be in attendance during the World Cup.
Al Khater said there were “no concerns over a shortfall of accommodation” with up to 130,000 rooms available across hotels, cabins in two cruise ships, apartments and desert camps.
There have been 40 million ticket requests for the tournament, with 2.45 million already being sold, and Al Khater said he was “confident” all tickets available to the general public will be sold.
The tournament has been moved to start a day earlier on Sunday, 20 November, with hosts Qatar facing Ecuador.