Budweiser will reportedly seek around $47 million from FIFA following the decision to allow alcohol sales inside stadiums at the World Cup.
Last Friday, FIFA announced that alcohol would be banned inside tournament stadiums in a last-minute decision apparently prompted by pressure from Qatar’s royal family.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, the brewing giant that owns Bud and dozens of other beer brands, has a $75 million deal with FIFA to be the official beer supplier for the World Cup in Qatar and reportedly already has another worth around $112 million for the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
However, following FIFA’s reversal of in-stadium alcohol sales this year, Budweiser will seek a $47.4 million deduction from its part of the deal for the 2026 tournament, according to Sun.
The 2026 tournament will feature more teams, meaning there will be a total of 80 games across the three countries, up from the current 64.
This also means that Budweiser will have the opportunity to sell more beer in stadiums and fan zones during the World Cup.
Budweiser will reportedly seek around $47 million from FIFA over the U-turn decision on allowing alcohol to be served inside stadiums at the World Cup.
Empty Budweiser stands, which would have sold beer to fans before and after games, are now empty and will only be able to sell Bud Zero instead.
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani (right, facing camera), president of the Qatar Football Association, next to a Budweiser billboard at a training session.
This year’s World Cup is the first to be held in a conservative Muslim country with strict controls on alcohol, the consumption of which is prohibited in public, and the reversal has raised questions among some supporters about the host country’s ability to meet the requirements. promises to fans .
Qatar is a typically teetotal nation where tourists can only buy or consume alcohol inside licensed hotels or restaurants. Exemptions for the World Cup would have meant fans could buy beers in special “fan zones” or in stadium concourses.
Budweiser, a major sponsor of the World Cup, would exclusively sell alcoholic beer within the ticketed perimeter surrounding each of the eight stadiums, three hours before and one hour after each game.
But Qatar reneged on part of that agreement, meaning the beer can now only be sold within ‘fan zones’, where pints will cost around $14.
The last-minute decision was apparently prompted by pressure from the Qatari royal family.
“Following discussions between the authorities of the host country and FIFA, the decision was made to concentrate the sale of alcoholic beverages at the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and authorized venues, removing beer outlets from the perimeters. of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup Stadium. ‘ a FIFA spokesperson said in a statement, just two days before the tournament was due to start.
A Budweiser beer stall at Fan Festival ahead of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup
The fan festival, where pints cost $14 each, is now one of the few places in all of Doha where visiting fans can buy alcohol.
“There is no impact on the sale of Bud Zero, which will remain available in all Qatar World Cup stadiums.
“The authorities of the host country and FIFA will continue to ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide a pleasant, respectful and enjoyable experience for all fans.
‘The tournament organizers appreciate [Budweiser’s] understanding and continued support of our joint commitment to serve everyone during the World Cup’.
After the news was announced, InBev did not mention any potential legal action over the $75 million deal.
The company issued a short and to the point statement on the beer ban saying it still hoped to “celebrate football with our consumers” but some sales were unable to take place due to “circumstances beyond our control”.
Their non-alcoholic drink, Bud Zero, can still be sold inside stadiums.
Hours before the statement was published, the Budweiser Twitter account posted a cheeky tweet that read “well this is awkward…” but it was later deleted.
Budweiser originally tried to downplay the situation in a now-deleted tweet.
The last minute decision has meant that thousands of Budweiser beer cans have been left stacked in a warehouse in Qatar.
Budweiser was faced with the possibility that large amounts of stock would go to waste.
However, on Sunday he offered the beer cans to the nation that emerges victorious after the tournament.
It read: ‘New day, new tweet. Winning Country gets the buds. Who will get them?
The tankers are said to have made the 8,000-mile journey to Qatar supplied with beer from breweries in England and Wales.