By Andrew Mills
DOHA (Reuters) -Half a litre of beer will cost 50 Qatari riyals ($13.73) inside the main fan zone at the soccer World Cup in Qatar, a source with knowledge of alcohol sales at the tournament told Reuters.
Major World Cup sponsor Budweiser has exclusive rights to sell beer at the finals and will serve its products at the 40,000 capacity FIFA Fan Fest in central Doha’s Al Bidda Park.
The beer maker will also serve beer within the ticketed perimeter surrounding each stadium, where the beer price is “to be confirmed,” said the source, who declined to be named.
The World Cup, which kicks off in Qatar on Sunday, is the first to be held in a Muslim country with strict controls on alcohol. While not a “dry” state like neighbouring Saudi Arabia, consuming alcohol in public places is illegal in Qatar.
The beer price in the FIFA fan zone falls in line with relatively expensive prices hotel bars charge in the Gulf Arab state, where a beer also costs around 50 riyals per half-litre.
Tournament organisers, who started negotiating the alcohol price with world soccer’s governing body FIFA in at least 2019, had said they wanted to make alcohol “accessible” to fans and that Qatar would consider offering alcohol at lower prices.
“We recognise there is an issue with price,” Qatar 2022 Chief Executive Nasser Al Khater said in 2019.
At the FIFA Club World Cup held in Qatar that year a half-litre of beer cost around $6.50.
Qatar’s World Cup organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, would not confirm the price of beer served inside the fan zone when contacted on Tuesday.
A spokesperson confirmed media reports that some of the zones where alcohol will be served outside stadiums have recently been moved within the perimeter areas.
“Pouring times and number of pouring destinations remains the same across all eight World Cup stadiums,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Non-alcoholic beer will also be sold in the fan zone for 30 Qatari riyals ($8.25) and soft drinks for 15 riyals ($4.10).
“You do get a ‘commemorative’ FIFA keep cup with that price too,” the source added.
(Reporting by Andrew Mills; Writing by Andrew Mills and Alaa Swilam; Editing by Ken Ferris)