Football fans in Qatar for the World Cup were left gasping by a stadium beer ban which was ordered by organisers on Friday, just two days before the tournament kicks off.
The last-minute decision to stop the sale of beer around the eight World Cup stadiums was reportedly made on the orders of Qatar’s ruling royal family.
Ecuador fan Diana, 31, told AFP she was saddened by the ban as she would have liked to have had a drink ahead of her country’s match with hosts Qatar which opens the World Cup.
“That’s quite sad because, you know, with this weather and all the excitement we have, of course we want a beer at least once,” she said.
Her compatriot Amelia, 22, said “it’s going to be like a cultural shock” not to be able to drink alcohol at her country’s games.
“It’s not prohibited in most countries around the world,” she added. “But we have to respect their culture and their rules.”
Qatar is an Islamic state which severely restricts alcohol consumption and other areas of public life and reaction among locals in Doha was mixed.
“I think it should be allowed because like there are many people from all over the world coming here,” said 26-year-old Ayu Whazir.
“And, you know, previously FIFA have been selling alcohol publicly.”
However Hashem Walid, 20, was not bothered about a decision which has left the expected one million fans set to visit the country unable to engage in the customary quaffing before and after matches.
“I know the English fans won’t be too happy, but you don’t get everything you want in life, so I’m sorry.”
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