Alcohol will be served inside the ticketed area around each venue, but not in the venue seating or walkways, as Budweiser, a critical World Cup advertiser, owns the rights to sell alcohol at the competition.
The fact that the Tournament is being hosted this year in a Muslim nation with strict liquor laws presents particular difficulties for the tournament’s planners, given the World Cup is typically affiliated with beer-drinking supporters and is promoted by a large beer company.
Three hours before kickoff, when the gates open, beer will be offered. Then, for an additional hour after the end of the match, anyone who wants a drink will be able to do so when they depart from the venue.
Moreover, from 6:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. daily, Budweiser will be allowed to offer beer in a portion of downtown Doha’s primary FIFA fan zone.
In the past, beer was continuously available in the supporter zones throughout World Cup tournaments. While the location and timing of when and where the beer will be offered to spectators are already set, the cost of a beer to supporters is still up for debate.
On most days during the contest’s pool stages, four matches are planned, with the earliest match beginning at 1 p.m. How Qatar would handle beer sales before the 1 p.m. start time was not entirely obvious.
On Friday, November 25, when Wales plays against the Iranians team, most of Qatar’s Muslims will be gathered in mosques for the Friday prayer. Most businesses in Qatar are currently required to close during Friday prayers.
Since Qatar earned the right to host in 2010, concerns have been raised about the role that alcohol will play at this year’s World Cup. Alcohol use in public places is forbidden in Qatar, despite the country not being a “dry” state like its neighbor Saudi Arabia. Tourists cannot purchase alcohol in Qatar’s only liquor store, located outside of Doha, or carry it into the state, nor from the airport duty-free shops. Only foreigners who have permits may shop there for domestic use.
A glass of beer can cost up to $18 in the few dozen restaurants and clubs with alcohol permits for tourists. Throughout games and at other fan locations, Budweiser will serve its non-alcoholic beverage, Budweiser Zero, in the venue seating areas and stands.