Budweiser 'will seek $47m' from FIFA after last-minute alcohol ban

American beer Budweiser ‘will seek to knock $47m off its deal’ to be the official beer supplier for the 2026 World Cup in the US, Canada and Mexico following FIFA’s last-minute alcohol ban in Qatar

  • Alcohol sales at Qatar World Cup stadiums are banned, FIFA announced Friday
  • Budweiser has a $75million deal with FIFA to be the official beer supplier
  • It also has a $112m deal to have a monopoly on sales at the 2026 tournament
  • The brewing giant is now reportedly looking to knock $47m off the 2026 deal
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  • Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results

Budweiser will reportedly seek around $47million from FIFA following the U-turn decision on allowing alcohol to be sold inside stadiums at the World Cup. 

Last Friday, FIFA announced that alcohol would be prohibited inside stadiums at the tournament in an 11th-hour decision apparently motivated by pressure from Qatar’s royal family.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the brewing giant which owns Bud and dozens of other beer brands, has a $75million deal with FIFA to be the official beer supplier for the World Cup in Qatar and reportedly has another already in place worth around $112m for the 2026 World Cup in the US, Mexico, and Canada. 

However, following FIFA’s reversal on alcohol sales at stadiums this year, Budweiser will look to seek a $47.4m deduction on its portion of the deal for the 2026 tournament, according to The Sun. 

The 2026 tournament will feature more teams, meaning there will be a total of 80 games taking place across the three countries, a rise on the current 64. 

This also means Budweiser will have the opportunity to sell more of its beer in the stadiums and fan zones throughout the World Cup. 

Budweiser will reportedly seek around $47million from FIFA for the U-turn decision on allowing alcohol to be served inside stadiums at the World Cup 

Empty Budweiser stands, which would have sold beer to fans before and after matches, now stand empty and will only be able to sell Bud Zero instead

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani (right, facing camera), president of the Qatar Football Association, stands by a Budweiser hoarding at a training session

This year’s World Cup is the first to be held in a conservative Muslim country with strict controls on alcohol, the consumption of which is banned in public, and the reversal has raised questions among some supporters about the host country’s ability to deliver on promises to fans.

Qatar is a typically teetotal nation where tourists can only buy or consume alcohol inside licensed hotels or restaurants. Exemptions for the World Cup would have meant fans were able to buy beers in special ‘fan zones’ or on stadium concourses.

Budweiser, a major World Cup sponsor, was to exclusively sell alcoholic beer within the ticketed perimeter surrounding each of the eight stadiums three hours before and one hour after each game. 

But Qatar reneged on part of that deal, meaning beer can now only be sold only inside the ‘fan zones’, where pints will cost around $14. 

The 11th-hour decision was apparently motivated by pressure from Qatar’s royal family.

‘Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing sales points of beer from Qatar´s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters,’ a FIFA spokesperson said in a statement, just two days before the tournament got underway. 

A Budweiser beer stand at Fan Festival ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

The fan festival, where pints cost $14 each, is now one of the few places in the whole of Doha where visiting fans can buy alcohol

‘There is no impact to the sale of Bud Zero which will remain available at all Qatar’s World Cup stadiums. 

‘Host country authorities and FIFA will continue to ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide an enjoyable, respectful and pleasant experience for all fans. 

‘The tournament organizers appreciate [Budweiser’s] understanding and continuous support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the World Cup.’ 

After the news was announced, InBev made no mention of possible legal action over the $75m deal. 

The company released a short, terse statement addressing the beer-ban in which it said it was still looking forward to ‘celebrating football with our consumers’ but some sales could not go ahead due to ‘circumstances beyond our control’.

Its alcohol-free beverage, Bud Zero, is still permitted to be sold inside stadiums. 

Hours before the statement was release, Budweiser’s Twitter account posted a cheeky tweet saying ‘well, this is awkward…’ but it was later deleted.

Budweiser originally tried to make light of the situation in a now-deleted tweet

The last-minute decision has meant that thousands of Budweiser beer cans have been left piled up at a warehouse in Qatar. 

Budweiser faced the prospect of large amounts of stock now going to waste. 

However, on Sunday it offered the cans of beer to the nation that comes out victorious following the tournament.

It said: ‘New Day, New Tweet. Winning Country gets the Buds. Who will get them?’ 

Tankers are said to have made the 8,000-mile voyage to Qatar stocked with beer from breweries in England and Wales.

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