FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Saturday that World Cup fans can survive three hours a day without beer after sales in stadiums were banned.
“Personally, I think if for three hours a day you can’t drink a beer, you will survive,” he said at his opening news conference in Doha. “The same applies in France, Spain, Scotland.”
World Cup bosses on Friday banned the sale of beer around stadiums in Qatar in a stunning U-turn, just 48 hours before kick-off on Sunday.
Alcohol is largely banned in the Islamic nation, but organizers angered fans with their dramatic late decision.
World soccer’s governing body FIFA said no beer would be sold to fans at any of the eight World Cup stadiums following discussions with the hosts.
It said beer sales would focus on fan zones and licensed venues, “removing beer outlets from the perimeters of Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums.”
He did not give any reason for the surprise decision, but media reports said there was an intervention by Qatar’s ruling family.
Dozens of Budweiser beer tents had already been set up on the grounds before the first game.
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