Top Turkish official endorses alcohol ban in FIFA World Cup

Top Turkish official endorses alcohol ban in FIFA World Cup
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Turkey’s Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin approved the Qatar government’s decision to ban alcohol sales in the stadiums during the FIFA World Cup

“Qatar has taken a sensible decision for sale of alcohol at stadiums,” Kalin said in a tweet where he also mentioned the foreign minister of Qatar.

Just two days before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar, soccer’s world governing body FIFA on Friday confirmed that no alcohol will be sold at the eight stadiums which will host the tournament’s 64 matches.

Reacting to a CNN report, Kalin said the decision did not reflect “‘Qatari conservatism’, but public health, safety and order.”

According to New York Times, Qatar’s about-face on alcohol signaled that FIFA may no longer be in full control of its showcase championship.

A decade ago, the soccer body pressured Brazil to change a law to allow beer to be sold in stadiums, a practice that had been banned in Brazil since 2003 but in Qatar, FIFA has instead bowed to the demands of the host country, New York Times said.

Many Twitter users reacted to Kalin’s tweet saying Turkey should not support such a decision, others said they were ashamed to see their top official’s support for a regime notorious for human rights violations.

One user said the tweet could be read as “Just like FIFA, I’m on Qatar’s payroll too”

“In countries such as England, France and Germany, where alcohol is used in stadiums, 50 people die every week. Since we don't drink, every match is very peaceful,” another one said ironically.

Budweiser, a beer brand that is owned by the world’s largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, was set to sell beer within the ticketed perimeter surrounding each of the eight stadiums before and after each game.

The beer brand, which is one of FIFA’s partners, tweeted, “Well, this is awkward,” though the social media post was quickly deleted.

“The tournament organizers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continuous support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” continued the FIFA statement.

Budweiser pays around $75 million for its sponsorship agreement with FIFA, according to the New York Times.