Doha: FIFA President Gianni Infantino backed the decision to ban beer from the stadiums hosting the World Cup and reacted to the criticism received for it.
Infantino, who interacted with the media here a day before the start of the tournament in Qatar, said “if for three hours a day you cannot drink a beer, you will survive”. “Over 10 fanzones where over 100,000 can simultaneously drink alcohol. I think personally, if for three hours a day you cannot drink a beer, you will survive, especially because actually the same rules apply in France or Spain or in Portugal, or in Scotland. No beer is allowed in the stadiums,” said Infantino.
Agreeing that the decision was a last-minute change, he said that the apex football body tried to implement it until the very last minute.
“Here it becomes a big thing because it is a Muslim country. I don’t know why. We tried. It’s the one I give you of course, a late change of policy. Because we tried until the end to see if it was possible. But one thing is to have plans and designs and another thing is when you start putting it in place,” stated the visibly livid FIFA President.
Following last-minute dialogue, World Cup organizers banned the sale of alcohol near stadiums in Qatar, FIFA announced on Friday.
FIFA and Qatari organizers were in late talks about whether beer would be sold in stadiums during the tournament, which begins on Sunday. The decision was announced by FIFA through the FIFA Media Twitter account.
“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 the sales points of beer from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters,” FIFA said.