BUDWEISER has been told to hide its beer stalls at World Cup stadiums after Qatar’s royal family wanted alcohol to be less visible.
Alcohol is allowed in hotel bars, restaurants and other places that are away from public view but these restrictions have been relaxed for tournament.
The installation of beer stations outside eight stadiums has been underway for most of the last month.
But late last week a senior Qatari royal asked for the beer concessions to be moved to less visible sites, the New York Times reports.
It’s understood the order came from with Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the brother of Qatar’s ruler.
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Given he’s the royal most active in the day-to-day planning of the tournament and it was felt the order was not negotiable.
Budweiser’s parent company AB InBev confirmed it was moving the beer stalls.
“AB InBev was informed on November 12 and are working with FIFA to relocate the concession outlets to locations as directed, the Belgium-based company, which includes Anheuser-Busch,” said on Monday in a statement.
“We are working with FIFA to bring the best possible experience to the fans.”
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The compromise on beer sales in Qatar was announced only in September and allowed for beer with alcohol to be served before and after games in the stadium perimeter.
Only alcohol-free Bud Zero can be served during games and within the stadium bowl.
Champagne, wines and spirits as well as beer will be served at stadium restaurants and lounges for corporate hospitality clients.
Fans staying in most high-end hotels and three cruise ships hired by organizers as floating hotels for the tournament can also buy a range of alcoholic drinks.
Budweiser pays roughly $75 million to associate itself with the World Cup and it provides beer for FIFA’s hospitality.
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Four years ago in Russia, a Budweiser beer stand had one of the most prominent positions for sponsors outside Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow which hosted the opening game and the final.
Red tents for Budweiser and Coca-Cola two of FIFA’s longest-standing sponsors since the 1980s and 1970s, respectively were placed next to the statue of Lenin.