WORLD CUP fans will face a stadium alcohol ban today as Fifa yields to pressure from Qatari authorities.
The stunning U-turn, just three days before the tournament begins, will come as a shock to England fans.
Despite months of assurances that beer and other alcoholic beverages would be available at the eight World Cup venues, SunSport can confirm that NO booze will be sold at any of them.
And it means that the ONLY official World Cup site where fans can get a drink will be the Doha city center official Fan Festival, which will sell only Budweiser at nearly £12 for less than a pint.
Even as recently as yesterday, Fifa promised that fans would be able to purchase drinks inside stadiums on match days, but only between kickoff and the final whistle.
But that policy was scrapped after Qatar’s Supreme Committee put the squeeze on Fifa – although it will cost the world governing body millions of pounds in compensation to official beer sponsor Budweiser and parent company InBev.
The Qataris’ crackdown has forced Fifa into a humiliating reverse ferret, despite the fact that the sponsor’s product will still be available from a single set of concession stands at the Al Bidda Park fan Festival.
SunSport has learned that only Bud Zero will be sold at stadiums, with each measure costing around £7, and that the promises of alcohol being freely available have been scrapped with immediate effect.
But not in the official hospitality areas, where tickets cost four figures and each box suite has sold for around £20,000.
Those seats and packages have promised “a selection of drinks available according to custom and preference; soft drinks, beers, Champagne, sommelier-selected wines, and premium spirits” available “before, during and after matches”.
That will not be an option for the thousands of fans who have bought normal stadium tickets and represents a huge change that will put Fifa under massive pressure to justify itself.
It is understood that Qatar’s ruling Royal Family has demanded the U-turn, with growing resentment against attempts to force through a more cosmopolitan approach to the tournament.
Earlier this week, the Qataris ordered Fifa to move some Budweiser concession stands that were deemed too “intrusive” into less visible positions.
And after months of promises that Qatar would recognise that drinking is part of football fan culture worldwide, the sudden change will cause huge anger and upset for travelling supporters.
The food quality at the World Cup fan zone has also been criticized, as have the exorbitant prices.
If you want to stay healthy while watching the World Cup, a Greek salad that doesn’t look particularly appetizing will set you back £9.
There’s also a depressing plate of nachos with a measly amount of guacamole distilled from a plastic bottle for around £4.60.
The Mexican theme does not end there; there are also chicken quesadillas on the menu for £8, which is the same price as a pepperoni pizza.