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Brewdog accused of hypocrisy over 'anti-sponsorship' of World Cup

Brewdog World Cup 'anti sponsor' campaign
BrewDog says all profits from sales of Lost Lager during the World Cup will go towards human rights causes. (BrewDog)

BrewDog has been branded "embarrassing" after launching an "anti-sponsorship" campaign for the Qatar World Cup while continuing to show matches at its bars.

The pub and brewery chain said that football has been "dragged through the mud" by the tournament's gulf state hosts, accusing them of winning its bid for the 2022 through bribery "on an industrial scale".

Launching its campaign on Twitter on Monday, BrewDog attacked the nation for its criminalisation of homosexuality, use of corporal punishment, and migrant workers dying in preparations for the games.

The chain will still show matches at its pubs, however, claiming "fans shouldn't be denied that just because of corruption".

It added that profits made from sales of its Lost Lager during the tournament will go to "causes fighting human rights abuses".

However, followers on social media were quick to point out that BrewDog would be making profit off all the other beers sold at its bars during the World Cup.

Read more: Gary Lineker: I’m ready to ‘p**s off’ Qatar during World Cup

BrewDog World Cup 'anti-sponsor' campaign
The chain says fans shouldn't be deprived of watching matches due to "corruption" in the football world (BrewDog)

One tweeted: "Not showing it in their bars isn’t stopping anyone from watching it. It’s not even stopping them from watching it in a pub with a pint of BrewDog if they wish. But it would show it was a genuinely-held belief and not just empty self-promotion."

Another added: "'This is an abomination, but of course we will continue to profit from it' Why not take a principled stance, and give people a place to drink without being subjected to it?".

Others asked why the chain continues to sell products in Qatar while claiming to take such a principled stance against the country's regime.

Watch: All you need to know ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

People criticising BrewDog's latest "PR stunt" took the opportunity to highlight complaints made last year by more than 100 former members of staff of a "toxic" working environment.

In an open letter, they accused the company of being a “a cult of personality”, claiming employees were often "harassed, assaulted, belittled, insulted and gaslighted".

Read more: World Cup in Qatar not safe for someone like me, says gay MP

BrewDog World Cup 'anti-Sponsor' campaign
BrewDog co-founder James Watt took to Twitter to defend the campaign. (Twitter)

At the time, CEO and co-founder James Watt apologised and said he had no interest in "contradicting or contesting the details of that letter", but BrewDog still suffered considerable damage to its reputation.

Responding to criticism over its latest campaign, a BrewDog spokesperson told Yahoo News UK: “We are pleased our campaign has struck a nerve and successfully raised huge awareness of the continued human rights abuses in Qatar.

"We are doing our bit to raise awareness of the corruption scandals and injustices and will keep doing so.

"We thought long and hard about whether we wanted to show matches in our bars but decided to do so for two reasons.

“One, if you love craft beer and you also love football you shouldn’t be denied the chance to enjoy them together just because FIFA is corrupt.

James Watt, BrewDog CEO, at the launch event of the new BrewDog Waterloo in August.
James Watt, BrewDog CEO, at the launch event of the new BrewDog Waterloo in August.

Read more: Qatar 2022: A World Cup plagued by controversy from the start

"Two, all profits from Lost Lager sold during the tournament will be donated to human rights charities. We will raise a lot more money if we show the matches in our bars."

While it hasn't decided on which organisations to donate to just yet, BrewDog said it is evaluating a "number of charity partners".

it said it will "only donate to registered charities that demonstrably and directly help those who have been affected by human rights injustices and violations in Qatar".

Net profits will be calculated at the end of December and all donations will be made in January 2023, the brewery added.