At this rate, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is going to be disaster unless a number of issues can be resolved. But according to Qatar’s sports minister, there are no guarantees that solutions are coming.
In an AP interview with John Leicester and Rob Harris, Qatar’s sports minister, Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, was asked about a number of issues facing the World Cup including the sale of alcohol at stadiums and whether gay fans would be welcome.
As of now, the minister would not guarantee that alcohol will be sold at World Cup stadiums, noting that alcohol is available in select hotels and that Qatar has a “system that people need to respect.”
The minister did concede that by bidding for the World Cup, Qatar needs to respect FIFA’s rules and regulations, but would only says that he thinks Qatar “can be creative” in finding a solution.
Brazil initially refused to sell alcohol during the matches of the 2014 World Cup, but eventually relented after pressure from FIFA. One of FIFA’s biggest sponsors is Anheuser-Busch.
Another issue is Qatar’s strict anti-gay laws. In 2010, FIFA president Sepp Blatter jokingly said gay men attending the World Cup in Qatar “should refrain from any sexual activities.”
The minister called the issue “exactly like the alcohol question” again saying he thinks his country can be “creative” in finding a way to respect the fans but at the same time honouring “the essence of [Qatar’s] culture.”
There is still plenty of time to find solutions, but it will be interesting to see how much leeway FIFA is willing to give.
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