FIFA World Cup 2022: Qatar’s beer ban decision raises concerns over sponsor contracts
Multiple sponsors of the tournament have raised grave concerns with FIFA authorities about the contracts standing with event in the Gulf nation. It gives the football’s governing body yet another task on hand after it was forced to ban alcohol from stadiums by the Qatari authorities.
“Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, 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 World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters,” FIFA said in a statement.
The biggest setback includes complicating its $75 million (£63m) contract with the brewer of Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch InBev. Another sponsor has said that all partners are now feeling “let down by Fifa in lots of ways” with series of discussions over contract breaches in line. “Everyone has a gripe in some way or form,” they added. “There is a lot of ‘regrouping’ going [on] to understand what the options are contractually speaking.”
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Though FIFA has clarified in a statement that “There is no impact to the sale of Bud Zero, which will remain available at all Qatar’s World Cup stadiums,” they are still staring at prospects of a legal action by Budweiser over contract breach.
According to the New York Times, staff members were told the move had followed security advice but that the change had originated with Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani – the brother of Qatar’s ruling emir and the royal most active in the day-to-day planning of the tournament.
The news of beer ban has attracted massive frustration by the Football Supporters’ Association, that has now raised questions over further break of promises by Qatar.