Desperate for a World Cup beer in Qatar? Seattle man creates an unofficial ‘alcohol map’ to help fans find a drink after booze-free nation U-turned on allowing Budweiser at stadiums
- Travelling USA supporter Ed Ball, an aerospace salesman, initially built the map as ‘useful’ guide for himself
- But it’s since had around half-a-million views from fans across the world looking for places to drink in Qatar
- Map has boomed in popularity after World Cup host’s last-minute decision on Friday to ban beer in stadiums
- Qatar declared the ban just two days before the tournament started, despite $75 million deal with Budweiser
- Budweiser was slated to be only beer sold in stadiums – but ban means only alcohol-free drinks are available
Soccer fans’ hearts were broken at this year’s World Cup before a ball was even kicked – after host nation Qatar announced a last-minute ban on beer in stadiums.
But a fan from Seattle has created a handy map of bars around Doha, Qatar’s capital, to ensure supporters don’t go thirsty.
Ed Ball, an aerospace salesman, initially built the map as ‘something useful’ for himself.
As Qatar announced a ban on beer in stadiums just two days before the tournament kicked off, his tool has racked up more than half-a-million views.
The booze about-turn is only the latest controversy to hit the tournament. FIFA has been fiercely criticized for its decision to award the country with hosting rights because of Qatar’s human rights record.
Ball began creating the map several months before the tournament. It includes around 200 locations which sell booze. He estimates it took 100 hours to complete.
After setting up a Twitter account to promote the project, it steadily began to garner views. Since Qatar’s tough stance on alcohol became a hot topic, it’s gone viral – used by fans from across the world, including England and Mexico.
Qatar hasn’t advertised bars or other booze venues while promoting the World Cup and the event’s chief organizer, Nasser Al Khater, has said ‘alcohol is not part of our culture’.
Alcohol is subject to a 100% ‘sin tax’ on imports – which also means fans who do find booze will pay over the odds for it.
USA fan Ed Ball created an interactive map of where to buy beer in Qatar and it’s since racked up more than half-a-million views after the country announced a last-minute ban on beer in stadiums. He posted a video of himself dressed in USA gear while downing beers to promote the map.
Ball created the map for himself – but it’s since gone viral and has been used by fans from across the world looking
One bar on Ball’s list, the Mulberry Tavern, charges $15 for draft beer, $23 for cocktails and $113 for some bottles of wine.
The Qatari royal family made the eleventh-hour decision to ban alcohol inside stadiums despite FIFA’s £63 million sponsorship deal with Budweiser.
Booze will only be available in hospitality boxes at stadiums – which costs thousands of dollars per ticket and are reserved for VIPs.
Supporters are able to buy alcohol in fan zones, but a pint is priced at $15 and individuals are limited to just four drinks each.
Qatar has banned the sale of alcohol inside its stadiums despite a multimillion dollar sponsorship deal with Budweiser
Budweiser struck a $75 million deal to become the only beer sold in stadiums – but the ban means only alcohol-free Bud will be sold
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has repeatedly defended the decision for Qatar to host the tournament and also backed the booze ban
In normal circumstances alcohol is largely restricted in Qatar apart from in some hotels, bars and restaurants.
Ecuador fans were heard chanting ‘We want beer’ during their nation’s opening game against the hosts on Sunday.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino dismissed claims from supporters that the ban on alcohol is unfair.
Infantino said: ‘Honestly, if this is the biggest issue we have for the World Cup, I will sign immediately, go to the beach and relax until the 18th of December.
‘Every decision we take at this World Cup is a joint decision between Qatar and FIFA. I think personally if for three hours a day, you cannot drink a beer, you will survive.’
Ecuador fans chanted ‘We want beer’ during their World Cup opener against Qatar on Sunday, following a last-minute ban on beer in stadiums
Californian delivery driver Brian Davidson told that DailyMail.com he was devastated by the ban on alcohol.
He said: ‘I’m devastated, it doesn’t make sense. What’s wrong with having a beer at a match? Beer wasn’t going to be sold inside the stadiums anyhow, just on the concourse.
‘Millions of people are coming from all over the world and they just want to watch football, enjoy the sun and knock back a few beers.
‘I’ll just have to go to the Fan Zones or a hotel for a drink but it’s a real pity that the Qataris have implemented this ban.’
Pictures purportedly showed thousands of cans of Budweiser piled up in a warehouse following the ban.
Budweiser had been announced as one of the sponsors for the tournament, and had been granted a monopoly to sell beer at the grounds, but it is now only able to sell its alcohol-free version of its beer there.
However, it has now offered the cans of beer to the nation that comes out victorious following the tournament.
It said: ‘New Day, New Tweet. Winning Country gets the Buds. Who will get them?’
It comes after Budweiser poked fun at the announcement that alcohol would be banned in stadiums on Friday, tweeting ‘well, this is awkward…’ before it was deleted.
Tankers are said to have made the 8,000-mile voyage to Qatar stocked with beer from breweries as far away as the United Kingdom.
Morgan Freeman was criticised after he appeared at the opening ceremony ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar opening match between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium on November 20, 2022
Morgan Freeman fronted the start of the World Cup opening ceremony in Qatar on Sunday but was accused of turning a blind eye to the country’s human rights record
David Beckham attended the opening match in Doha amid controversy surrounding his reported £10 million promotional deal with the tournament’s organizers
Anheuser-Busch InBev, the brewing giant which owns Bud and dozens of other beer brands, said it is still looking forward to ‘celebrating football with our consumers’ but some sales cannot go ahead due to ‘circumstances beyond our control’.
In the statement on Friday, InBev made no mention of possible legal action over the $75million deal it holds with Fifa, which gives it exclusive rights to sell beer at World Cup games.
Doha could also be facing legal action, having signed contracts agreeing to ‘respect Fifa’s sponsors’.
The tournament – the first World Cup to be held in winter – has been beset by a fierce row around Qatar’s human rights record.
Morgan Freeman incurred harsh criticism after hosting the opening ceremony of the tournament.
The tournament, whose opening ceremony yesterday featured a rousing monologue from Freeman, has been plagued with controversy over the Gulf state’s treatment of foreign workers, LGBT+ rights and social restrictions.
Several stars such as Dua Lipa, Shakira and Rod Stewart turned down offers from tournament organizers to perform at the opening ceremony in the at Al-Bayt Stadium in Doha on that basis.
Yet Freeman accepted despite already having a net worth estimated to be in the hundreds of millions – and in doing so drew ire from furious commentators who accused him of hypocrisy.
The internationally acclaimed actor has been an outspoken civil rights activist in the US, having lent his voice to campaigns supporting gay marriage and launched charities to promote equality in early childhood education, among others.