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Qatar Bans Beer Sales at World Cup In Last Minute Reversal

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TV-G
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1:50

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J.D. DURKIN: Why did Qatar reverse its World Cup alcohol policy at the 11th hour?

MARTIN BACCARDAX: Two days before the kickoff, J.D., it’s quite amazing, isn't it? I mean, this was Budweiser and a $75 million exclusive rights deal to sell beer at the World Cup in Qatar, a country which has a strict prohibition on the public sale of alcohol. It's not completely dry. It's not like Saudi Arabia. There is the potential to buy alcohol in hotels and quiet consumption at home. But public consumption is simply just not part of the game. And Qatar had sort of acquiesced to that in negotiations with FIFA and indeed with Budweiser, which is owned by ABN, I beg your pardon, AB In Bev, which is a company based in Belgium. 

But they seem to have had this about face as of today, there’s going to be no sale of beer outside Stadia over the three weeks of the World Cup itself, there will be some very restricted sales at the fan zone in Doha. Of course, people will be able to buy alcohol in hotels as well, but they won't be able to drink outside the match. They won't be able to drink after the match. And this is really a significant change, not only a policy, but it does remind a lot of people about the controversy based on the selection of Qatar as the World Cup city, a World Cup host about seven or eight years ago, I think it was. 

There's questions about human rights. There's questions about freedom and all the rest of it, and quite rightly so, there's questions about the money and the activities that were induced to get the stadium built in the first place. And it's just interesting that Qatar would decide to have this kind of PR disaster so quickly before the kickoff, because it just reminds people of the controversies in the first place.

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