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World Cup: FIFA boss says followers ‘will survive’ with out beer at video games

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino downplayed Qatar’s final minute ban on the sale of beer at World Cup stadiums Saturday as nothing greater than a quick inconvenience to spectators.

“If that is the most important downside we’ve, I’ll signal that (settlement),” Infantino mentioned Saturday, a day after the conservative Muslim emirate did an about-face on the deal it had made to safe the soccer event.

Infantino blamed “crowd flows” in Doha for the choice, although it seemed to be a ruling by Qatar’s autocratic authorities to placate its conservative Wahhabi residents who have already got been angered by some occasions across the event they view as Western excesses.

Infantino mentioned the beer ban at stadiums was made collectively by Qatar officers and FIFA.

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“We tried till the top to see whether or not it was doable,” Infantino mentioned of permitting alcohol gross sales. “If for 3 hours a day you can not drink a beer, you’ll survive. Possibly there’s a cause why in France, in Spain, in Scotland, alcohol is banned in stadiums. Possibly they’re extra clever us, having thought perhaps we needs to be doing that.”

Spectators can drink alcoholic beer within the evenings in “the FIFA Fan Competition,” a delegated get together space that additionally presents reside music and actions. Qatar places strict limits on the acquisition and consumption of alcohol, although its sale has been permitted in lodge bars for years outdoors of the tournament-run areas.

The World Cup begins Sunday with a gap match between host nation Qatar and Ecuador, and when Qatar made its pitch to host the event, the nation agreed to FIFA’s necessities of promoting alcohol in stadiums. The alcohol plans had been solely launched 11 weeks earlier than kickoff after which modified on Friday.

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FIFA says non-alcoholic beer will nonetheless be offered on the eight stadiums, whereas champagne, wine, whiskey and different alcohol shall be served within the luxurious hospitality areas of the arenas.

Earlier World Cup hosts have been requested to make concessions. For the 2014 event, Brazil was pressured to vary a regulation to permit alcohol gross sales in stadiums — however the identical cultural points weren’t at play.

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Budweiser’s father or mother firm AB InBev’s renewed their sponsorship cope with FIFA in 2011, after Qatar was picked as host. Nevertheless, the Belgium-based brewer has confronted uncertainty in latest months on the precise particulars of the place it may well serve and promote beer in Qatar.

Infantio denied that the ban of beer gross sales has harmed FIFA’s relationship with Budweiser, it is official beer sponsor.

“We’re companions for some many years, and we sit up for companion for the long run,” he mentioned. “This explicit state of affairs has introduced us even nearer collectively.”

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