Soccer fans have reacted with a mix of resignation and anger after learning that Qatar had banned the use of alcohol in the stadiums during the World Cup. FIFA announced this on Friday, November 18th. It was a last-minute decision.
This is the first World Cup to be hosted in a conservative Muslim nation with strict controls concerning alcohol consumption. It restricts the consumption of beer in public. The decision has made some supporters wonder if the country can deliver its promises to fans.
Some fans have arrived in Qatar to cheer the United States team on its initial appearance in the tournament since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Many of them were angry to hear the news of the restriction.
Brian Davidson, a 45-year-old delivery driver from California was the first fan to drink an official beer at the 2022 World Cup as alcoholic drinks made their debut at the tournament. However, two days later, the alcohol ban in the stadiums came into force. Davidson paid $14 and waited in line for about 2 hours to be served a pint of Budweiser at 7 pm on Wednesday. He was at the head of a queue with almost 500 people. He claimed that he had never had such a beer in his life, and it made him feel like Maradona or Pele, for making history in the World Cup. After hearing about the alcohol ban, Davidson’s mood went downhill. He said the ban did not make sense and he was devastated.
Another American fan told talkSPORT that the reversal was upsetting. He said that alcohol usually accompanies sports events. He claimed that he cannot see the 2022 World Cup being enjoyable for him.
Steve Da Cruz, a Mexican fan said it was disappointing because football and beer go hand-in-hand for them. He said he knew the local culture had influenced the ban, and he respected all cultures. In Qatar, people caught drinking alcohol in public receive a fine of over $800 and spend up to six months in jail. He added that a large number of fans traveling to Qatar for the World Cup cannot imagine attending a football match where they cannot drink a beer.