World Cup in Qatar: beer debate: Bierhoff expresses understanding for criticism


World Cup in Qatar
Beer debate: Bierhoff expresses understanding for criticism

At the World Cup in Qatar, serving beer near the stadium was banned.  Photo: Bernd Thissen/dpa

At the World Cup in Qatar, serving beer near the stadium was banned. photo

© Bernd Thissen/dpa

The ban on alcoholic beer around the stadium remains an issue at the World Cup. Gianni Infantino tries a casual saying. Oliver Bierhoff understands the criticism.

Oliver Bierhoff took the question from a British journalist with humor. “I don’t know if we Germans are inferior to you English when it comes to drinking beer,” replied the DFB managing director when it came to cold drinks containing alcohol, which may no longer be served near the stadium during the World Cup in Qatar.

Almost at the same time, Gianni Infantino also tried humor. A football game without beer, he thinks “that you can survive that,” said the FIFA President.

Beer ban heats up the spirits

The ban, which was only announced on Friday, two days before the opening game between Qatar and Ecuador, and which essentially goes far beyond the beer question, continues to arouse tempers. The originator is clearly the strictly Islamic World Cup host, in whose country alcohol is not strictly forbidden, but the purchase is only possible to a very limited extent and for a comparatively large amount of money. Infantino stressed during his press conference in Al-Rajja that the decision was taken “jointly” with FIFA.

“That’s not the most important thing for me at a World Cup, if it were I would resign and go to the beach,” said the Swiss. There are 200 places in and around the capital Doha where alcohol is available. In and around the stadiums, however, only alcohol-free beer from the major sponsor Anheuser-Busch (AB InBev) is now served. “Any decision that is taken is a joint decision between FIFA and Qatar,” said Infantino. “Every decision is discussed and made together.”

The world association has agreed in principle with the US brewing company to extend the partnership until 2026, said Infantino. Then the World Cup will take place in the USA, Mexico and Canada. The FIFA President pointed out that alcohol is not served in the stadiums in some European countries either. In Germany, sales can be restricted, for example in risky games.

Last minute decision

However, the criticism arose less because of the beer itself and more because of the short-term nature of the decision, which gives rise to fears that other, more crucial issues will also be reassessed. Fan organizations brought the security guarantees for homosexual World Cup visitors into play.

“Such a short-term decision is unfortunate,” said Bierhoff. He couldn’t quite understand that, especially “at the moment”. DFB captain Manuel Neuer also said that it was the spontaneity that annoyed the fans. It would have been better to know beforehand.

dpa



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