Haram: Qatar Bans Beer at World Cup at the Last Minute

Two days before the World Cup opener, Qatar, the host nation, banned beer sales at stadiums. They were utterly backtracking on the deal the conservative Muslim country made to secure the soccer tournament.

Qatari officials welcome soccer fans from around the globe to the tournament as long as the visitors respect their culture and traditions. The country has been long trying to maintain a balance on alcohol consumption, as drinking alcohol is haram in Islam.

The movement spread tension over how the event will play out, as it is a sports tournament and a month-long party for the fans. The World Cup beer sponsor Budweiser received a significant blow as the sale of alcohol is heavily restricted in the autocratic country and raised the question of how much control FIFA has over the tournament.

Qatar initially agreed to the terms of FIFA of selling alcohol in stadiums when it launched its bid to host the World Cup. The deal was made just eleven weeks before the first kickoff in September, showing how frantic the negotiations were. On November 18th, 2022, FIFA said in a statement that non-alcoholic beer will still be available at eight stadiums, while champagne, wine, whiskey, and other alcoholic products will be served in the luxury hospitality areas of the arenas.

Although most ticket-holders will not have access to those areas, they can still drink alcoholic beers around the evening of the FIFA Fan Festival, an area designated to offer live music and activities. Besides the tournament, there is a strict restriction on the purchase and consumption of alcohol in Qatar, barring hotel bars.

"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 ... stadium perimeters," stated FIFA.

Some soccer fans calmly dealt with the situation, while others complained about the decision.

"We're not here to drink beer," said Adel Abou Hana, a United States fan. "We're here to watch world-class soccer."

On the other hand, Federico Ferraz, who was visiting from Portugal, was saddened to hear about the news. "I think it's a bit bad because, for me, beer and football go hand in hand," said Ferraz.

Islam forbids Muslims to drink alcohol as it is considered to be haram. A verse in the Quran, the Muslim holy book, calls the intoxicants "the work of Satan" and advises the believers to avoid them. Islamic scholars and religious authorities usually cite the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, and the adverse effects alcohol can have on one's body.

Some Muslims refrain from alcohol so much that they wonder whether it is okay to eat food that contains alcohol, to work in a western restaurant that serves alcohol, to use perfumes that have alcohol, or to attend ceremonies where booze is available, etc.

However, not every Muslim abstains from drinking alcoholic products. Some drink either privately or in public as well. In a Pew Research Center survey of Muslims all over the world, more than 90% of the people surveyed said that drinking alcohol is an immoral act. However, the remaining percentage said that drinking is morally acceptable, and in some countries, many Muslim people claimed that alcohol consumption is not a moral issue.

In some Islamic nations, there may be regulations that vary from country to country, but alcohol is available for sale and consumption. While in some countries like Saudi Arabia, drinking alcohol will result in punishment by flogging, fines, arrest, and deportation (for foreigners). However, in Dubai, many bars, nightclubs, and lounges offer alcohol. Still, drinking is rejected by most Muslims.

After the news came in, Budweiser's Twitter account tweeted, "Well, this is awkward..." shortly after, the post was deleted without any explanation.

Ab InBev, the parent company of Budweiser, said in a statement that some of its plans were halted due to unforeseen circumstances. Paying tens of millions of dollars at every World Cup, the company already shipped most of its stocks from Britain to Qatar for the soccer fans. The decision deals a sharp blow to their significant branding opportunity. They are negotiating to renew their deal with FIFA for the next World Cup in North America.

If you like our posts, subscribe to the Atheist Republic newsletter to get exclusive content delivered weekly to your inbox. Also, get the book "Why There is No God" for free.

Click Here to Subscribe

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.