World Cup Qatar 2022: The decision to ban "beer" came directly from the Qatari royal family

The Wall Street Journal said that the "last-minute" decision to ban serving beer outside the Qatar World Cup stadiums "came directly from the royal family in the Gulf emirate," after growing concern among conservative Qataris on this issue.

World Cup Qatar 2022: The decision to ban "beer" came directly from the Qatari royal family
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, and to his left is his older brother, Sheikh Jassim

And the newspaper reported, quoting undisclosed sources, that the State of Qatar remained "intentionally ambiguous" about whether it would allow alcoholic beverages in the world's largest tournament. Because a firm stance in any direction on this issue may lead to problems.

After 12 years of planning to host the soccer World Cup for the first time in a Muslim country, confusion and ambiguity over the issue spilled over into just two days before the opening match, when organizers canceled plans to sell beer inside the stadiums. 

People close to decision-making circles said that the ban followed a last-minute call from a person belonging to the Al-Thani family that owns the Gulf state, without mentioning the person's identity.

The New York Times reported earlier that Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad, who is the brother of the Emir of the country, is most likely behind this decision, as he is the most active member of the royal family regarding the daily planning of the tournament, and that this decision was not negotiable.  

Under the new rules, alcohol will only be available in certain hotels and outdoor fan areas away from the stadiums. 

Alcohol will be available to people who have purchased the expensive hospitality packages that provide closed rooms inside the World Cup stadiums.

A Qatari government spokesman did not comment in response to questions submitted by The Wall Street Journal. FIFA also did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the American newspaper, the members of the royal family are outwardly contemporary and open to dealing with the West, especially the Emir of the country, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, a 42-year-old ruler who mixes comfortably with European and American leaders. 

But the royal family has felt growing anxiety among conservative Qataris who make up a small but powerful political base, the people who spoke to the newspaper said.

The decision to ban beer from around the stadiums two days before the opening ceremony came as no surprise to people who closely follow the decisions of the Qatari royal family. 

People familiar with the matter said that the Qatari royal family's decision-making is often fickle, leading to quick turnarounds.

A diplomat with extensive experience in Qatar said he was told that one of the driving factors behind the decision to ban beer was that Qatari police would be unable to manage drunken crowds, creating the potential for mishandled confrontations to turn into embarrassments for the international media. 

Another person said it was not uncommon for Qataris to suddenly reverse course on Western-themed projects at the behest of royals who could quickly change their minds about whether something was appropriate or not.

One notable example came in 2013, when a Qatari art gallery was scheduled to present two ancient Greek statues depicting naked men, but once the statues arrived, they were quickly covered in black cloth and sent back to Greece over the objections of the Qatari authorities.

The tournament, which is held once every four years, opens with the host Qatar match, which is participating for the first time, against Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium in the northern city of Al Khor at 7:00 pm local time (16:00 GMT).

The Qataris faced various issues during the previous 12-year trip, ranging from allegations of vote-buying, the emirate's hot climate and its conservative society, to its record in the field of freedoms and human rights, especially dealing with migrant workers from South Asia and the LGBT community.

On the other hand, officials of the Gulf state, headed by the Emir of the country, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, denounced an "unprecedented campaign" of "slanders" and "double standards." 

Last month, he pointed out that Qatar witnessed a "legislative renaissance, according to which basic laws regulating various aspects of life and transactions in the country were completed."

FIFA President Gianni Infantino defended Doha, saying, on Saturday, in a press conference, "Today I feel that I am Qatari, today I feel that I am an Arab, I feel that I am African, that I am gay, that I feel that I am a person with a disability, today I feel that I am a migrant worker." .

He described the criticism of the World Cup as "moral lessons" that smack of "hypocrisy": "For us Europeans, what we did over the past 3,000 years, we have to apologize for for the next 3,000 years before we give lessons to others. These are moral lessons." Show hypocrisy."

As for banning beer, he considered that football fans in the World Cup could live 3 hours without drinking beer. "I personally believe that if you do not drink beer for 3 hours, you can live. It is the same in France, Spain and Scotland."


Post a Comment (0)
Previous Post Next Post