World Cup 2022: Qatar’s beer debacle should be the final nail in FIFA’s coffin


Soccer FIFA Corruption
FILE – in this Sept. 25, 2015 file photo, the International Federation of Association Football, FIFA, logo is fixed on a wall of its headquarters during a meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee in Zurich, Switzerland. Reynaldo Vasquez, the former president of the El Salvador Soccer Federation declared himself guilty on Monday, August 23, 2021, before a judge in New York, of money laundering and electronic fraud charges in a corruption scandal that has shaken FIFA since 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File) Michael Probst/AP

World Cup 2022: Qatar’s beer debacle should be the final nail in FIFA’s coffin

Video Embed

Two days before the start of the 2022 soccer World Cup, host nation Qatar is kicking fans.

Sure, Qatar is happy to provide political cover for China in its genocide of Uyghur Muslims. A clear betrayal of Qatar’s responsibility to the Ummah, or global Islamic community. Sure, Qatar was happy to seize the passports of migrant workers and force them to work in soaring heat without sufficient water. Thousands died to build the stadiums for this tournament. Sure, Qatar demands that gay fans hide their nature just as Qatar holds back the freedom of its women.

The limited and temporary availability of beer, however, is where Qatar crosses the line.

On Friday, global soccer’s FIFA governing body announced that beer would no longer be sold at any of the tournament’s eight stadiums. This follows “discussions between host country authorities and FIFA.” But it’s clear what’s going on here. FIFA has abandoned the already major concession it had given Qatar to restrict alcohol sales to specially designated areas of stadiums. This compromise was agreed upon to satisfy Qatar’s (as previously noted, subjective) interpretation of Islamic law. In late September, the head of Qatar’s World Cup Supreme Committee confirmed to the BBC that alcohol would be available. Nasser al Khater only asked that fans “stick to these designated areas,” pledging additional alcohol consumption areas “will be communicated in due course.”


I guess he was lying. Fear not, however. FIFA says, “There is no impact to the sale of Bud Zero, which will remain available at all Qatar’s World Cup stadiums.”

Phew! “Bud Zero” to the rescue. The sale of this nonalcoholic beer will surely spark universal celebration by fans who have saved thousands of dollars to travel to the tournament. Still, the beer ban is a clever if unscrupulous move on Qatar’s part. Coming just two days before the World Cup begins, Qatar knows that the world has little option but to accept its ban. At least former FIFA chief Sepp Blatter and current chief Gianni Infantino can take solace in their heavy wallets.

This is only the latest absurdity that Qatar has brought to this inherently absurd tournament. More ominous was the ambush this week by Qatari security officers of a Danish TV crew. Although that crew had all the necessary filming permits, Qatari officials became incensed that they were filming a … roundabout. They threatened to destroy the crew’s camera unless they stopped filming. While al Khater’s committee later apologized, the incident further emphasized Qatar’s disdain for respecting the international tenor of the tournament it has the honor of hosting.

But with 32 competing teams set to offer their own concerns on the human rights issues surrounding this tournament, it’s unclear what might happen over the next month. Can Qatar be trusted to protect the rights of visiting fans and footballers? I think not.

Confirming to the United Kingdom’s Sky News in October that alcohol would be available in certain areas, al Khater also addressed the migrant worker scandal. Ignoring the damning worker death toll and abundant testimony of distraught families, al Khater declared that “a lot of people that speak about this issue on workers’ welfare … are not experts in the industry.”

Nor is Qatar an expert on football or fan satisfaction. Its leaders will simply hope they’ve bribed enough to minimize future criticism. Regardless, FIFA’s allowing of this disgrace should be the final nail in its corrupt coffin. As soon as the 2022 World Cup is concluded, FIFA’s international football association members should withdraw their support for the body. It’s time to start afresh. Put another way, we should have listened to Ian Holloway back in 2010.

iFrame Object


© 2022 Washington Examiner

Related Content