World Cup host Qatar requires Budweiser to move its beer stalls

Budweiser has been forced to relocate stalls selling beer outside World Cup stadiums after the Qatari rulers wanted alcohol to be less prominent.

Alcohol is allowed in the Muslim nation within hotel bars and restaurants away from street view, but it had to relax its alcohol restrictions to allow the FIFA sponsor to sell its products at matches.

Budweiser was told on Saturday it had to make late changes to the visibility of its products at the eight stadiums - with the tournament opening this Sunday.

As one of FIFA's most lucrative sponsors, Budweiser has the exclusivity to sell beer at World Cup matches.

But it has had to navigate the thorny issue of selling its products in a country not accustomed to an influx of fans expecting booze to flow freely at a tournament.

Beer was already only allowed to be sold outside the stadium bowl itself, but within the perimeter for ticket holders before kick-off or post-match.

Budweiser owner AB InBev told Sky News: "AB InBev was informed on November 12 and are working with FIFA to relocate the concession outlets to locations as directed. We are working with FIFA to bring the best possible experience to the fans.

"Our focus is on delivering the best possible consumer experience under the new circumstances."

The New York Times posted a video of red Budweiser tents being moved on wheels in recent days.

Qatar World Cup organisers said "operational plans are being finalised" when asked about the change to the location of beer stations.

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The World Cup Supreme Committee told Sky News: "These plans include venue management teams enhancing overlay requirements for all competition venues. This has a direct impact on the location of certain fan areas.

"Pouring times and number of pouring destinations remains the same across all eight World Cup stadiums."

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Beer will also be available in fan zones in Qatar after 6.30pm and drunk fans will be sent to special zones to sober up.
Qatar World Cup CEO Nasser Al Khater told Sky News last month: "There are plans in place for people to sober up if they've been drinking excessively.

"It's a place to make sure that they keep themselves safe, so they're not harmful to anybody else."

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has broken off from World Cup preparations in Qatar to go to Indonesia to appear at the G20 summit, which is being held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Infantino, who issued a plea to World Cup teams recently to "focus on the football," is set to use the gathering of political leaders in Bali to talk up the ability of the sport to bring people together.

FIFA has issued a new video linked to the World Cup that is opened by Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo and closed by Argentina star Lionel Messi saying: "Football unites the world".