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Qatar will ban all sales of beer in and around World Cup stadiums, in a dramatic change just two days before the massive soccer tournament kicks off, according to multiple reports citing people familiar with the matter.
The conservative and gas-rich Muslim country does not completely ban alcohol for visitors, but its sale and consumption is tightly controlled.
The reported decision, which is expected to be announced by Qatari authorities on Friday, calls into question the $75 billion sponsorship of the tournament by major brewer Budweiser and angered many organizers and fans who attended already frustrated over the restrictions.
FIFA’s choice for Qatar, a small country in the Gulf with a population of 3 million people and limited football history, to host the 2022 World Cup was controversial from its inception when the election was made in 2010.
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