EXCLUSIVE: Qatar officials tried to ban Budweiser from the US company’s OWN hotel… after their last-minute turnaround in alcohol sales in stadiums and fan zones
- Just two days before the World Cup, it was decided that alcohol would no longer be served in stadiums or fan zones
- Alcohol is only available in executive suites during the tournament at £20,000 per match
- Qatar officials also wanted to ban Budweiser from being sold at the company’s own hotel
- FIFA’s commercial department eventually persuaded the hosts to license it
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Qatar officials tried to ban Budweiser from the US company’s own hotel, the posh W Hotel
Not only did Qatar officials bar Budweiser from entering stadiums, they tried to kick it out of the US company’s own hotel.
Sports mail understands that during tense crisis talks over on-site liquor sales, government figures in Doha refused to grant a license to serve alcohol at the posh W Hotel, which has been taken over by the American brewers for the duration of the tournament.
It left Bud execs, employees, and VIP guests — who have flocked to the Far East — with the embarrassing prospect of being unable to sink their own drinks into their own headquarters.
The deadlock added to an already charged diplomatic incident, in which the Qataris had made a U-turn on an earlier agreement that beer would be on sale at the tournament’s match venues.
Directors of FIFA’s commercial department allegedly got involved and eventually managed to persuade the hosts to grant a license, preventing them from making the difficult situation worse.
This follows the host country’s last-minute decision not to sell alcohol in stadiums or fan zones
Anheuser-Busch InBev has a £63 million contract with FIFA and is one of the elite sponsors.
Official fan guides had told supporters they would have access to Bud and soda at matches and in some fan zones.
But after reported intervention from Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani – the brother of Qatar’s ruling emir and the royal person most active in the day-to-day planning of the tournament – it was announced that booze would only be available in £ Executive suites from 20,000 per game.
It remains to be seen if compensation will resolve the matter, or if it will end in legal action.
The sale of alcohol is strictly controlled in a conservative Muslim country.
Budweiser is now only available in stadiums for people in executive suites at £20,000 per match