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Despite Alcohol Ban in Stadiums, World Cup Fans Are Ready to Rock

  • Publish date: Sunday، 20 November 2022
Despite Alcohol Ban in Stadiums, World Cup Fans Are Ready to Rock
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While some fans welcome the government's sudden decision to ban all alcohol sales in stadiums, others lament the announcement's last-minute timing.

Even as organizers of the Middle East's first World Cup outlawed the sale of beer at stadiums, flag-draped fans continued to flow into Qatar ahead of the event. This last-minute decision seemed to be widely welcomed by locals and shrugged off by some tourists.

Three million people live in the Gulf nation, and an additional 1.2 million spectators were anticipated to fly in for the competition, which starts on Sunday.

After Friday prayers, the sudden government decision to ban all alcohol sales at stadiums became the talk of Doha, the country's capital.

In the country, where alcohol is offered at hotel bars, the decision was well-received.

Abdullah, an Egyptian living in Qatar, said that the absence of alcohol in the stadiums will make him feel safer about attending sporting events.

“I am happy to hear this news. It’s not like alcohol is not sold in Qatar. People have to respect Muslim culture and get on with the tournament. I’ll feel much better about taking my family to the stadium now. We’re supporting Brazil,” he told Al Jazeera.

Despite Alcohol Ban in Stadiums, World Cup Fans Are Ready to Rock

A Portuguese fan group organizer named Federico Ferraz argued that the decision to ban alcohol in stadiums was taken far too late.

Throughout the tournament, alcohol will continue to be offered in hotels, luxury suites, private residences, and at the FIFA Fan Festival location.

Before his nation's opening night match against Qatar on Sunday, 35-year-old Ecuadorian Pablo Zambrano ignored the news of the beer ban while shopping in Doha's Souq Waqif market.

He said that beer, which foreigners can legally purchase in specific depots, was already in the fridge while he was living with his mother, who resides in Qatar.

Zambrano was one of the increasing crowd of admirers taking in the traditional market and strolling along the Corniche, a seaside boulevard with views of Doha's glistening skyline.

For Pial and others, the World Cup is the peak of their work in Qatar and may be their last big celebration before leaving the country as business may be slowing down.