Qatar’s beer ban could cost FIFA a staggering A$70 million with Budweiser prepared to play hardball.
The American beer company is one of the World Cup’s official sponsors and were set to provide the booze in stadiums and fan zones in Qatar, The Sun reports.
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However, football fans attending the tournament will have a dry World Cup after authorities performed a stunning U-turn on alcohol this week.
It had previously been promised that beer and other drinks would be available at all eight World Cup venues.
However, FIFA chiefs bowed to pressure from the Qatari authorities and confirmed they would not be selling alcohol at any stadiums.
It’s bad news for official beer sponsor Budweiser, which is now looking for compensation following the shock U-turn.
They currently have a deal worth around A$112 million with FIFA for this World Cup.
Budweiser also has a deal for the 2026 World Cup worth up to A$170 million.
The next tournament is being held across the USA, Canada and Mexico and will have more nations competing in it.
That means there will be 104 games in four years’ time compared to the current 64-match format.
That will also obviously mean that Budweiser will have more access to sell their beer with more stadiums and fan zones in use.
However, The Sun reports Budweiser will demand FIFA knock off a bumper A$71 million from the fee to be the official beer supplier due to the booze ban in Qatar.
That would take their deal down to around $A97 million.
Meanwhile, Budweiser has offered the team that wins the World Cup a huge stockpile of free beer.
The beer giant has been left with thousands of cans of beer it can’t sell after Qatar’s last-minute ban on selling alcohol at tournament venues.
A can of Bud can still be purchased in Qatar but the only official World Cup site where fans can have a drink will be at the Doha city centre fan zone.
That leaves the company with a potential mountain of booze that could go to waste.
But on Sunday Budweiser’s official Twitter account posted a photo of countless cases of beer piled high in a warehouse.
During Ecuador’s 2-0 win over Qatar in the tournament opener, Ecuadorian fans sitting in the stands could be heard chanting “Queremos cerveza”, which translates in Spanish to “we want beer”.
This article originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission.