Qatar mulling allowing alcohol in World Cup stadiums

DOHA Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:12pm IST

DOHA (Reuters) - Qatar is still considering whether to allow alcohol in stadiums when it hosts the 2022 World Cup, though a senior official on Wednesday said he did not see a need for it.

"Alcohol will be allowed in Qatar. We're discussing with FIFA the extent of it and where exactly. You've got different perspectives coming out of Brazil, England and Russia. There's obviously a serious issue, and it's something we're looking into," 2022 Supreme Committee Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi told reporters at a sports security conference in the Qatari capital.

"For me personally, I don't see the reason for it being in the stadiums, but it's something we're discussing with FIFA."

Qatar, a conservative Muslim nation in the Arabian Gulf, currently limits the sale of alcohol primarily to five-star hotels.

Brazil, which will host the 2014 World Cup, has seen delays in approving a so-called World Cup bill, which would overturn a ban on the sale of alcohol in Brazilian stadiums.

Alcohol sales have been banned from football stadiums in Brazil since 2003 in an effort to reduce alcohol-related sports violence.

FIFA has said it will defend the commercial rights of its sponsors, including Anheuser-Busch InBev, which will sponsor the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

"It's important for us to ensure that everyone who comes has a great time and enjoys themselves, while at the same time showcasing the culture of the Arab world," Thawadi said.

Qatar was the surprise winner of a December 2010 FIFA vote to choose the 2022 host country, edging out Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

It plans to build solar-powered, air-conditioned stadiums to overcome the sweltering summer heat as well as housing, infrastructure and transport for the event.

(Reporting By Regan Doherty, Editing by Justin Palmer)

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