Football fans will be able to drink alcohol if Saudi Arabia is successful in its unpopular bid to host the 2034 World Cup, sources have claimed.
The Muslim-majority country prohibits the sale and consumption of alcohol, but could allow its sale in hotels and restricted ‘fan zones’ if it is awarded the tournament.
“It hasn’t been discussed publicly, but it’s an accepted fact,” a source said. 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 be “sports whitewashing”, covering up its “appalling human rights record”.
A fan is shown enjoying a beer while England played Slovenia during the 2010 World Cup.
A staff member holds a beer in a fan area before the FIFA World Cup, in Doha, Qatar, last year.
The source told The Sun: “We recognize that very serious mistakes have been made in the past and we want the world to understand that we are changing.”
The sale and consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia.
Foreigners caught drinking can face public caning, fines, prison and deportation.
But the country appears to have relaxed its stance on the prospect of hosting the 2034 World Cup, announcing it would bid on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) president Yasser Al Misehal said in a statement posted on the SAFF website: “We believe the time is right for Saudi Arabia to host the FIFA World Cup. FIFA.
‘Our commitment is driven by the love for the game and the desire to see it grow 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 made by Qatar last year after a last-minute decision to ban alcohol in stadiums, having previously said fans could drink.
Qatar initially hired Budweiser to exclusively sell alcoholic beer inside closed fan zones at all eight World Cup venues in Doha as part of a $75 million deal.
But just two days before the start of the tournament, the organizers did a 180 degree turn and completely banned alcohol around the stadiums.
Many demanded refunds from FIFA for “caving in” to the Qatari royals who “ruined the tournament” with the ban.
Qatar was also persecuted for its ugly human rights record, and FIFA for the decision to award the country the tournament.
In response, FIFA ignored the accusations and called on the association leaders of the 32 competing nations not to “allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists.”
Others found creative ways to defend their decision to participate in the World Cup in Qatar. David Beckham insisted “commitment is the only way to achieve change” after coming under fire for agreeing to a £10million deal to back the event.
After the event, Amnesty noted FIFA “has not yet fulfilled its obligations” human rights responsibilities by refusing to commit to compensating migrant workers and their families for abuses committed during the preparation and hosting of the 2022 World Cup tournament in Qatar.”
Critics have also criticized the possibility of Saudi Arabia hosting major tournaments, given its rights record. Amnesty notes that human rights defenders have been harassed in prison and face arbitrary travel bans.
Courts have also resorted to the death penalty following “manifestly unfair trials” and thousands of residents have faced forced eviction in the coastal city of Jeddah.
Migrant workers continue to “be abused and exploited under the sponsorship system and thousands were arbitrarily detained in inhumane conditions, tortured and subjected to other ill-treatment.”
Saudi Arabia has won the right to host the December 2023 Club World Cup, a tournament organized by FIFA that brings together soccer teams from around the world to compete annually.
Steve Cockburn, Economic and Social Justice Director at Amnesty International, said: ‘FIFA has once again ignored Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record.
‘No sooner had tourism site Visit Saudi been awarded as a sponsor of the Women’s World Cup, it has announced the Kingdom as host of the Club World Cup without any regard for freedom of expression, discrimination or workers’ rights.
“FIFA once again discards its own human rights policy and is complicit in a blatant whitewashing of sport.”
Qatar was previously selected to host the tournament in 2019.
Fans drink beer during Day 2 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar Fan Festival at Al Bidda Park on November 20, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.