Football fans “will be allowed to drink” alcohol if Saudi Arabia succeeds in its unpopular bid to host the 2034 World Cup, sources have claimed.
The Muslim-majority country bans the sale and consumption of alcohol, but could allow the sale of alcoholic beverages in hotels and restricted “fan zones” if it wins the tournament.
“It hasn’t been discussed publicly but it’s an accepted fact,” a source said. The sun.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced its intention to bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup earlier this week.
Critics have warned FIFA that allowing the oil-rich state to host the tournament would amount to “washing the sport”, covering up its “atrocious human rights record”.
The source told The Sun: “We recognize that very serious mistakes have been made in the past and want the world to understand that we are changing.”
A fan is pictured enjoying a beer as England took on Slovenia in the 2010 World Cup.
A staff member holds a beer in a fan zone before the FIFA World Cup, in Doha, Qatar, last year
The sale and consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia.
Foreigners caught drinking can be whipped in public, fined, imprisoned, or deported.
But the country appears to have softened its stance on the prospect of hosting the 2034 World Cup, announcing its candidacy on Wednesday.
Saudi Football Federation (SAFF) President Yasser Al Misehal said in a statement on the SAFF website: “We believe the time is right for Saudi Arabia to host the World Cup. of football.
“Our application is motivated by the love of the game and the desire to see it develop in all corners of the world. We want to celebrate our football culture and share our country with the world.
Saudi Arabia will look to avoid the mistakes Qatar made last year after an eleventh-hour decision to ban alcohol in stadiums, having previously said fans could drink.
Qatar had initially hired Budweiser to exclusively sell alcoholic beer in closed fan zones at Doha’s eight World Cup venues in a $75 million deal.
But just two days before the tournament began, organizers reversed course and completely banned alcohol around stadium venues.
Many have demanded refunds from FIFA for “giving in” to members of the Qatari royal family who “ruined the tournament” with the ban.
Qatar has also been harassed for its disastrous human rights record, and FIFA for the decision to award the tournament to the country.
In response, FIFA rejected the allegations, calling on the leaders of the associations of the 32 competing nations not to “allow football to be drawn into every existing ideological or political battle.”
Others have found creative ways to defend their decision to attend the World Cup in Qatar. David Beckham insisted “commitment is the only way to bring about change” after receiving criticism for agreeing to a £10million deal to support the event.
After the event, Amnesty note FIFA “still failed to fulfill its human rights responsibilities by refusing to commit to compensating migrant workers and their families for abuses committed during the preparation and staging of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Critics have also lambasted the possibility of Saudi Arabia hosting major tournaments given its rights records. Amnesty observes that human rights defenders have been harassed in prison and subject to arbitrary travel bans.
Courts have also used the death penalty following “grossly unfair trials”, and thousands of residents have been forcibly evicted in the coastal city of Jeddah.
Migrant workers continue “to be mistreated and exploited under the sponsorship system and thousands of them have been arbitrarily detained in inhumane conditions, tortured and ill-treated.”
Saudi Arabia has won the right to host the Club World Cup in December 2023, a tournament organized by FIFA that brings together association football teams from around the world each year.
Steve Cockburn, head of economic and social justice at Amnesty International, said: “FIFA has once again ignored Saudi Arabia’s atrocious human rights record.
“Right after naming tourist site Visit Saudi as a sponsor of the Women’s World Cup, it announced that the Kingdom would host the Club World Cup without any consideration of freedom of expression, discrimination or workers’ rights .
Fans drink beer during the second day of the Qatar Fan Festival of the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Al Bidda Park on November 20, 2022 in Doha, Qatar
An England soccer fan drinks outside the Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, Saturday, June 12, 2010, during the World Cup.
“FIFA is once again abandoning its own human rights policy and being complicit in a blatant whitewashing of sports.”
Qatar had already been selected to host the tournament in 2019.