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Thu 19 Jan 2012 04:43 PM

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FIFA says no alcohol, no deal on World Cup

Soccer’s governing body says booze is ‘non-negotiable’ part of world’s biggest sporting event

FIFA says no alcohol, no deal on World Cup
FIFAs secretary general Jerome Valcke said alcohol is non-negotiable during the World Cup

Alcohol is a non-negotiable aspect of the World Cup and the right to sell it must be enshrined in a new law the Brazilian Congress is considering, the secretary general of FIFA has said.

Football’s governing body on Thursday pushed for the sale of alcohol at 12 venues of the 2014 World Cup finals in spite of a country-wide ban on the sale of alcohol in sports venues as part of a bid to stamp out violence amongst fans.

“Alcoholic drinks are part of the FIFA World Cup, so we're going to have them. Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that's something we won't negotiate,” Jerome Valcke told reporters during an interview in Rio de Janeiro.

“The fact that we have the right to sell beer has to be a part of the law,” he added. 

Valcke’s comments come just weeks after Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, curbed the sale of alcoholic drinks on its flagship development, the Pearl, in what is seen as a display of tension between Qatar’s Muslim culture and its largely expatriate population.

Food and beverage outlets told Arabian Business they had seen a 50 percent revenue slump in the wakes of the new ruling.

“I would say [the decline] is even more than 50 percent,” a spokesperson for Maze, the restaurant owned by the British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay said.

 “It is not only Maze… all the restaurants have stopped serving. There are a lot of rumours, we are waiting in great anticipation that [the ban will be lifted].”

Analysts suggested it could be the start of a Gulf-wide clampdown on booze sales as governments look to pacify local fears. “Qatar is hardly the first Gulf state in which the local population has expressed its concerns over the sale of alcohol,” Guy Wilkinson, managing partner at Dubai-based hospitality consultancy, Viability, told Arabian Business on Jan 15.

“Following the Arab Spring, I expect Muslim parties to have more and more influence over the control of alcohol throughout the region,” he added.

The sale of alcohol is strictly monitored in five of the Gulf states with Saudi Arabia operating an outright ban on the sale and consumption of liquor.

The move to offer alcohol licenses to outlets and non-Muslims is largely a nod to the region’s expatriate workers, who vastly outnumber the local population. But the decision has been met with criticism from some citizens who oppose the sale of liquor in Muslim countries.

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John Mackay 7 years ago

Here's what will play out...Qatar will say "no problem" for alcohol and give all the guarantees FIFA want...about 3 days or so before the event kicks of, Qatar will say "alcohol banned"...what are FIFA going to do ? Sue thinks the Qatar could afford the compensation...OK they wont get the World Cup again or Olympics but frankly speaking, how many cities get them more than once or want them more than once !! this space

Shaun O'Rourke 7 years ago

It's all a bit strange.
I have worked on many of these events.
In the stadiums on match days, only alcohol free beer is sold to the fans.

John Harte 7 years ago

If this isn't a clash of cultures/civilizations, then what is? If the Muslim world wants to take part in the rest of the world, it is going to have to come to terms with the fact that most of the world does not abide by Muslim values/beliefs.

Lionheart 7 years ago

You'll get everything you want in 2022 and more . The Qataris are capable of the most terrific u turns and will not bat an eyelid.
These guys are very very clever.

layla 7 years ago

wow, I find it incredible how important alcohol is to some people. To be arrogant about it shows how many people are alcoholics that cant have fun without alcohol. Meanwhile, alcohol related deaths are commonplace as well as all kinds of violence including domestic violence. But to most of the world it seems this is ok.

fz1 7 years ago

Now this is interesting...hope Qatar is successful in banning alcohol from FIFA this year....
if it happens then it'll be FIFA's outright successful year ever for the already successful event.. Insha Allah

Heinrich Klier 7 years ago

Isn't it hypocritical to apply for international events and to be adamant about its own cultural and religious customs simultaneously? Accept the international rules or forget it! The Middle East has its right to live its own reality. Do you really need Olympic Games and soccer tournaments?

Kalpesh 7 years ago


I think that it's not a matter of (expat) people not able to enjoy the sport without alcohol, in my opinion is more a commercial issue as there are important sponsors (beer / whiskey brands) that put a lot of money (long term contracts) to appear in the World Cup. And FIFA doesn't want to miss all that income ...
More than a way to promote a sport, the World Cup is seen as a business for FIFA and they may be worried of losing huge sponsorship fees.
People who appreciate football can enjoy a nice match just with a juice or a soda ...

Waseem 7 years ago

FIFA should accept this decision from qatar, because no religion instructs their followers to drink alcohol... not only muslims, even its written in bible that people should not have alcohol, but many christians disobey that and they thinks that muslims have strict rules... rules r meant for everyone, but it just need a good heart to follow them... there r a lot of sponsors in this world, let those sponsors fled away... in the name of sport, dont spread alcohols... I love to be in Qatar...

Dan 7 years ago

The most sensible comments here are from Heinrich Klier. Kalpesh is correct on the commercial aspect, which applies to any sport. Red Bull is non-alcoholic & they are also a big sports sponsor.

It's a farce that Qatar gets to host 2022 in the first place. The decision should be rescinded & it should go to a country capable of hosting the world's largest sporting event in a normal manner & without the need for airconditioned venues - how blase & environmentally unfriendly is that? It'd be best for the game if it was staged in Australia or the US