Early Friday morning, FIFA and Qatari officials made a joint decision to ban selling alcohol at the World Cup that begins Sunday.
It was a controversial decision, but FIFA president Gianni Infantino is downplaying it all.
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“If for three hours a day you cannot drink a beer, you will live,” he said.
Infantino acknowledged that spectators likely are not happy, considering that there previously had been an agreement to serve beer at stadium compounds. But he noted there could be much worse inconveniences.
“If this is the biggest problem we have, I’ll sign that (agreement),” he said.
FIFA WORLD CUP: QATAR REVERSES DECISION ON SELLING ALCOHOL IN STADIUMS 2 DAYS BEFORE GAMES BEGIN
“We tried until the end to see whether it was possible,” Infantino added. “Maybe there is a reason why in France, in Spain, in Scotland, alcohol is banned in stadiums. Maybe they are more intelligent than us, having thought maybe we should be doing that.”
Fans will still be able to purchase alcoholic beer at the FIFA Fan Festival, and those with luxury access are expected to retain access to champagne, wine and liquor.
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Budweiser has been a key sponsor of the World Cup since 1986 and has spent tens of millions of dollars for the exclusive right to sell its products at the tournament. But it has already conceded the right to sell alcohol to fans in the stadium seating and has argued back and forth with the government of Qatar on the locations of beer stalls for weeks.
G3 Box News’ Timothy Nerozzi contributed to this report.