The parent company of American beer giant Budweiser said Friday that restrictions at World Cup matches were “beyond our control,” after FIFA and host nation Qatar announced beer sales around stadiums would not go ahead.
The Belgium-based AB InBev acknowledged the action taken merely days before the first match kickoff on Sunday.
As partners of football’s world governing body “for over three decades, we look forward to our activations of FIFA World Cup campaigns around the world to celebrate football with our consumers,” a spokesperson for AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, said in a statement to AFP.
“Some of the planned stadium activations cannot move forward due to circumstances beyond our control,” the spokesperson added.
The host nation has predicted that more than one million fans will visit the country for the 29-day tournament and FIFA has had a longstanding sponsorship deal with Budweiser.
Dozens of Budweiser beer tents had already been set up at grounds ahead of the opening match, between Qatar and Ecuador.
Beer will remain available in VIP suites in stadiums, in some fan zones and in some hotel and restaurant bars.
Alcohol is largely prohibited in the Islamic nation but the organizers have sparked anger from fans with their 11th-hour decision. — Agence France-Presse