Hide the Beer: Qatar World Cup Faces New Edict
The message was sent from the highest levels in Qatari State: The beer tents have to be moved and there can be no discussion.
Qatari organizers are rushing to move Budweiser-branded beer bars at eight stadiums ahead of the World Cup's opening game.
They were forced to do so by a sudden request that three people who knew the matter said had been made from the royal family.
The World Cup officials confirmed the changes in an official statement. Budweiser claimed that the changes were only discovered by it on Saturday eight days prior to the tournament's opening game.
FIFA, soccer's global governing body has struggled to balance their obligations to Qatar, which includes selling alcohol and providing promotional space to Budweiser.
However, organizers also have concerns about alienating or upsetting a country that is not used to beer-soaked events.
FIFA and Qatari officials worked for years on a plan to host the World Cup. Qatar is a country where beer flows freely over generations.
However, Budweiser moves that restrict its branding or impact its ability sell its products may cause FIFA to have a difficult relationship with a strong partner.
Budweiser stated that it wasn't informed of FIFA's changes until Saturday. According to a Budweiser spokeswoman, the company is working with FIFA to move concession outlets to new locations.
A representative of the World Cup organizing team released a statement stating that the statement was made on behalf both FIFA and the tournament.
"Operational plans have been finalized," it said, adding that "this has an impact on the location of some fan areas." It also mentioned that "pouring time and the number of pouring destination"