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World Cup Qatar Won't be Dry

FILE: Wait server pours a mug of beer. Taken 8.20.2022

Beer-drinking will be OK at the Qatar World Cup, the tournament's chief insisted Thursday, despite severely restricted alcohol sales in the Muslim Gulf state.

for the World Cup, beer will be sold at special zones around the eight tournament stadiums before and after games, in a FIFA fan zone and some specially-designated areas.

73 days from the first World Cup kicks off in an Arab nation, chief executive Nasser al-Khater said there was a "misconception" about alcohol sales, calling it one of the "unfair" criticisms faced by Qatar.

The price of accommodation and availability of beer have been among the main concerns raised by fans.

"Very simply put, we always stated that the sale of alcohol is available here in Qatar. We also said that during the World Cup we will make it available in specific zones for the fans," Khater said.

"I think that there is a misconception regarding the sale of alcohol in the stadiums," he said.

"We are working as any other World Cup where this is something typical and usual, and it is no different than any other World Cup."

While Qatar is not dry, like fellow Gulf states Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, alcohol can only be bought by residents in one special government store and about 35 hotel bars and restaurants.

Drinking in public is normally illegal. And away from the stadiums, and in the hotels and bars of Doha, it would be "business as usual" for drinkers, meaning alcohol is "haram" - forbidden.

Many countries have restrictions on beer sales at sporting events. At English Premier League games, fans are not allowed to drink within sight of the pitch. That came after years of "footies" slugging it out in the stands after lagering up.