Why Qatar’s last-minute booze flex on matchday is particularly telling

IT ALL STARTS

It is a measure of the utter squalidness of the Human Rights World Cup that one of the few treats match fans could expect outside of actual football was a plastic cup of a Ridiculously high priced, low, a tasteless, bland American-style lager to quench your thirst in the scorching Doha sun. Normally a dry country where the consumption of foaming trees and an assortment of premium drinks is not only frowned upon but widely banned, Qatar had agreed to relax its drinking laws so fans could save some £12 of foam around stadium perimeters. More importantly, it meant that Fifa wouldn’t lose the tens of millions of dollars of handsome sponsorship loot they receive from Budweiser in exchange for the exclusive rights to sell their beer.

On Friday, however, the powers-that-be in Qatar reneged on the agreement reached in February and made clear that alcoholic beer (or beer, as it is more commonly known) will no longer be served in or near stadiums. , unless of course those trying to get hold of them happen to be among the favored prawn sandwich eaters, whose corporate boxes sell from £19,000 and up per game. The good news, however, is that those in the cheap seats will be able to drink non-alcoholic beer, an activity only marginally preferable to licking your own pee off a door.

“Following discussions between the authorities of the host country and Fifa, a decision has been taken to concentrate the sale of alcoholic beverages at the Fifa Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing beer outlets from the perimeters of the 2022 World Cup stadiums in Qatar,” Fifa dropped a statement through gritted teeth in anticipation of an awkward and potentially costly conversation with a certain brewery. For its part, Budweiser responded with a mildly amusing social media disgrace post that was quickly deleted, presumably in anticipation of some goofy, etc., and so on.

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While the lack of expensive matchday booze adjacent to the stadium isn’t particularly bad, Qatar’s last-minute flex is telling enough in that it suggests he has no intention of to be as obsequious, servile and indebted to Fifa as previous hosts. Football’s governing body would not have tolerated this kind of blatant insubordination in the past, so its willingness to kowtow to the Qataris now suggests it’s the Gulf state’s royal family – not Gianni Infantino and co – who calls the shots. Far more worryingly, Qatar’s willingness to backtrack on one promise so late suggests there could be plenty more to come. Although homosexuality is illegal in the country, fans were told they were welcome, with a Fifa spokeswoman saying they were “welcome to show their love” without fear of reprisal. In the wake of this flip-flop on a relatively mundane issue, members of the LGBTQ+ community could be excused for being a little nervous when it comes to doing something as innocent as publicly holding their partners up. the hand.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Although Qatar is a sexist, homophobic and racist dictatorship, he would have described it as ‘perfection’. [He] was once an LGBT+ ally and icon, but no more. He took his 30 silver coins. Putting money before principles, he seems driven solely by sheer greed” – human rights activist Peter Tatchell offers some timely thoughts on David Beckham’s role as Qatari ambassador.

David Beckham addresses students and other attendees at the fourth annual Generation Amazing Youth Festival. Photograph: Oliver Hardt/Fifa/Getty Images

I can’t match Alec Brown traveling 15,000 miles to be entertained by a Womble (Letters from the Football Daily yesterday). However, in December 2010 I changed my plans and returned from Singapore a day earlier than planned as my team Sheffield Wednesday were playing Exeter City and I thought that would probably be my only chance to see us play. . to this land. I shivered through a 30C temperature drop to see us lose 5-1, my car was buried in snow when I got back to my local station and we ended up playing there again next season anyway, so I didn’t need to care – Alan Burgess.

Vladislav Shubovich’s story (yesterday’s Football Daily) was greatly enhanced by the presence of a social media abomination on Twitter to which the newsletter was linked. The popular and long-running internet-based doohickey has recently been hit by a series of management changes in approach, content and ethics, leaving longtime aficionados worried about the future at amid concerns about the impact on staff. I also hear trouble at Social Media Abomination Twitter, Jon Millard.

If you really want to STOP FOOTBALL, how about asking Elon Musk to buy Fifa? – Krishnamoorthy V.

How inspiring to hear David Beckham say that the HRWC would be “a platform for progress, inclusiveness and tolerance” for the hosts. Just like Russia turned out to be four years ago I guess? “Today is your day to dream,” he continued. Dream on David, at least you can bring yours to the bank – Justin Kavanagh.

Send your letters to [email protected] And you can still tweet Football Daily – while you can – via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our letter of the day is… Alan Burgess, who wins our latest copy of World Cup Nuggets, by Richard Foster.

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