Qatar bans sale of beer at World Cup stadiums in about-face

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DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatar has banned the sale of beer at World Cup stadiums.

It was a sudden U-turn on the deal the conservative Muslim emirate made to secure the soccer tournament only two days before the opening game.

The move was the latest sign of the tension of staging the event in the autocratic country where the sale of alcohol is heavily restricted.

It’s also a significant blow to World Cup beer sponsor Budweiser and raised questions about how much control FIFA retains over its tournament.

When Qatar launched its bid to host the World Cup, the country agreed to FIFA’s requirements of selling alcohol in stadiums. But the details were only released in September, just 11 weeks before the first kickoff. Friday’s statement from FIFA said non-alcoholic beer will still be sold at stadiums.

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