No alcohol will be served at stadiums during Qatar World Cup: source

Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. (Photo: CFP)

Alcohol will not be served at any stadiums during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar from November 21 and December 18, Reuters reported on Thursday.

"At stadiums, the plans are still being finalized, but the current discussion is to allow fans to have beer upon arrival and when leaving (a) stadium, but beer won't be served during the match or inside the stadium bowl," Reuters' source said.

The 2022 edition will be the first World Cup to be held in a Muslim country, where there are strict regulations on alcohol. However, drinking has been closely related to football for decades. For example, Dutch brewing company Heineken is a long-term sponsor of the UEFA Champions League.

Brazil didn't ban alcohol during the World Cup in 2014. Russia implemented an alcohol ban in Moscow during the tournament in 2018 and only provided access to booze in restricted areas.

Drinking in public places is illegal in Qatar and can lead to a prison sentence of up to six months and/or a fine up to 3,000 Qatari riyals (about $824). "Unlike previous World Cup fan zones, beer won't be served all day long, but at restricted times," according to Reuters' source.

Visitors to Qatar are not allowed to carry alcohol into the country, including from airport duty free. Neither can they buy it at the country's only liquor store on the outskirts of Doha. They can only buy it at a handful of licensed hotels and clubs for a price of $18 for one pint of beer.

"Alcohol is already available in designated areas in Qatar, such as hotels and bars, and this will not change in 2022. With the aim of catering to visiting fans in 2022, alcohol will be available in additional designated areas during the tournament," a spokesperson for Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said.

Alcohol will be available to fans in some of the areas at the main FIFA fan zone in the Al Bidda Park in Doha at restricted times, according to a document dated June 2 seen by Reuters.