FIFA doing the dirty work for alcohol giant AB InBev pushed Qatari officials to weaken their alcohol laws just for the FIFA World Cup. Qatar was initially going to prohibit all alcohol sales during the World Cup. While the football arenas will remain alcohol-free, alcohol will be available in other public areas. After FIFA and AB InBev’s intense lobbying alcohol will be made available in certain spaces. This is not the first time AB InBev and FIFA have forced a country to make alcohol widely and easily available ignoring the public interest and laws of that country.

The FIFA World Cup will be taking place from November 21 to December 18 in Qatar.

Reportedly, Qatar will ensure alcohol-free football stadiums during the FIFA World Cup. However, VIP lounges will be exempt from this rule. Alcohol will be made available for others upon entry and leaving the stadium and in several designated areas in the city.

Public alcohol use is not allowed in Qatar as per the country’s laws. The only exempt areas are certain hotels, restaurants, and clubs that cater to foreign visitors, especially Westerners.

However, FIFA doing the dirty work for beer giant AB InBev were pushing Qatari officials to allow alcohol at the FIFA World Cup. It is another example of complete disregard to the host country’s rule of law and the public’s interest. The reason for the aggressive lobbying push is that AB InBev’s Budweiser is the “official beer sponsor” of the FIFA World Cup.

Exposing FIFA and AB InBev sponsorship deal

The AB InBev-owned beer brand has been the official beer sponsor of the men’s FIFA World Cup for over 35 years now. The 2022 event is set to be its tenth World Cup. Apart from pouring rights at World Cup matches, the partnership also allows Anheuser-Busch InBev to promote its local brands in their respective regional markets, reports Sports Khabri.

The last renewal between the two parties was announced in October 2011, with Budweiser remaining as a global FIFA sponsor for the 2018 and 2022 men’s World Cups.

FIFA operates with three sponsorship tiers: FIFA Partners, FIFA World Cup Sponsors, and National Supporters.

Companies at the World Cup Sponsor level receive rights to the event on a global basis, including category exclusivity, select marketing assets and secondary media exposure.

In 2010, eight companies signed up for World Cup Sponsor packages at annual fees of between $10 million and $25 million, this includes Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Budweiser.

Initially, Qatar was going to completely prohibit alcohol sales at FIFA World Cup venues, according to the country’s laws. But it appears Big Alcohol’s and FIFA’s lobbying push has worked somewhat:

  1. Sources are saying alcohol will be allowed upon entry and leaving of the venues and in the VIP lounges.
  2. Apart from this, it is expected that the fan zones in Doha will serve alcohol as well.
  3. Some fan sites may have a time limit for alcohol sales from 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM whereas the fan zones probably will have no time limit.

A FIFA spokesperson has confirmed that apart from hotels and bars where alcohol is already available it will be made available in other designated areas.

FIFA doing the dirty work for Big Alcohol’s profits

As Movendi International has previously reported, this is not the first time AB InBev and FIFA forced a country to serve alcohol ignoring the views and laws of that country. In the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil officials decided to ban alcohol as part of measures to prevent violence in football and to improve public health in general. Unfortunately, in the end, FIFA and AB InBev got their way and alcohol was easily and widely available.

In countless other instances, AB InBev has shown disregard for the public’s interest and the health of communities in order to maximize company profits.

Some cases reported by Movendi International include the use of the name “Brahma” – a revered Hindu god – for a beer brand and hijacking the logo and slogan of a First Nation tribe to market beer.

Source Website: DW