Ecuadorian soccer fans that attended the opening match of the 2022 Qatar World Cup Games held at the Al Bayt Stadium in Doha on Nov 21 shouted, “Queremos Cerveza! (We want beer!)”. Ecuador eventually won Qatar by 2:0, but it was not enough to quench the thirst of the country that scored a victory in the World Cup tournament for the first time in eight years since the second round of the group stage at the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
Qatar banned the sales of beer in booths outside the stadium two days before the games' opening, which fans complained about. Qatar bans drinking in public, but it agreed to allow beer selling in booths outside of the stadium. This decision was overturned, however, when the Qatar royal family decided to remove the booths.
Fans who wish to consume beer can do so at the fanzone in Al Bidda Park in Doha, 48 kilometers away from the Al Bayt stadium. The distance can be likened to the difference between Seoul World Cup Stadium and Suwon World Cup Stadium. Also, the fanzone has a capacity of only 40,000 people, which is far short of the 1.2 million soccer fans visiting Qatar. The police had to turn away thousands of fans when the zone opened at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. On the first day of the World Cup games, tens of thousands of fans flocked to the Fan Zone an hour and a half before the match began.
The only option for fans who could not enter the fanzone is a few hotel bars and restaurants that obtained special permission to sell alcohol, which are also packed. According to The Associated Press, a lounge bar manager at the Doha Marriot Hotel said it is not easy to keep turning customers away. The DT Night Club in Doha also tells soccer fans that they “need to come as early as possible, or they might not be able to enter.”
An ironic fact is that ‘supplies of alcohol that could not be supplied’ are just as abundant as the demand for alcohol. When Budweiser, the official sponsor for FIFA, could not sell beer at the booths near the stadium, the company posted a photo of the beer in warehouses with the message: “Winning country gets the Buds. Who will get them?” They devised an event to celebrate the beer sourced from Britain breweries and eventually could not sell due to the ban, with fans of the winning country. Budweiser will announce the event's details ahead of the final match.
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