WORLD CUP fans will be hit with a stadium booze ban today as Fifa buckles under pressure from the Qatari authorities.
The stunning U-turn, just three days before the tournament kicks off, will be a body blow to England supporters.
But despite months of promises that beer and other alcoholic drinks will be available at the eight World Cup venues, SunSport can confirm that NO booze will be sold at all in any of them.
And it means that the ONLY official World Cup site where fans can have a drink will be the Doha city centre official Fan Festival – selling just Budweiser at almost £12 for less then a pint.
Even as late as yesterday, Fifa had promised that fans could buy drinks inside stadiums on match days but not between kick-off and the final whistle.
But that policy was scrapped after Qatar’s Supreme Committee put the squeeze on Fifa – although it will cost the world governing body millions of pounds in compensation to official beer sponsor Budweiser and parent company InBev.
The clampdown by the Qataris has forced Fifa into a humiliating reverse ferret – even though the sponsor’s product will still be available from a single set of concession stands in the fan Festival in Al Bidda Park.
SunSport has been told that it has now been decided that only Bud Zero will be for sale at stadiums – each measure costing around £7 – and that the promises of alcohol being freely available has been scrapped with immediate effect.
But that will NOT apply to the official hospitality areas, where tickets cost four-figure sums and each box suite has sold for around £20,000.
Those seats and packages have promised “a selection of drinks available according to custom and preference; soft drinks, beers, Champagne, sommelier-selected wines, and premium spirits” available “before, during and after matches”.
That will not be an option for the thousands of fans who have bought normal stadium tickets and represents a huge change that will put Fifa under massive pressure to justify itself.
It is understood that Qatar’s ruling Royal Family has demanded the U-turn, with growing resentment against attempts to force through a more cosmopolitan approach to the tournament.
Earlier this week, the Qataris ordered Fifa to move some Budweiser concession stands that were deemed too “intrusive” into less visible positions.
And after months of promises that Qatar would recognise that drinking is part of football fan culture worldwide, the sudden change will cause huge anger and upset for travelling supporters.
The standard of food at the World Cup fan zone has also been slammed – while the eyewatering prices are also being called into question.
If you’re interested in staying healthy while at the World Cup, a Greek salad, that doesn’t exactly look very appetizing, will set you back £9.
There’s also an extremely depressing plate of nachos with a mean amount of guacamole distilled from a plastic bottle, which is around £4.60.
The Mexican theme doesn’t stop there though, there’s also chicken quesadillas on the menu, which costs £8, the same price as a pepperoni pizza.
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