By G9ija

Fans attending matches at this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be permitted to drink alcohol prior to kick-off but will not be able to do so during the game itself.

The Reuters news agency, citing a source with knowledge of the plans, reported that supporters will be able to buy alcohol from three hours before kick-off and for one hour after the game has finished.

US brand Budweiser is the exclusive beer provider for the World Cup and will be able to sell drinks within the ticketed perimeter surrounding each stadium, according to Reuters. Alcoholic beer will not be sold in the stadium stands or on the concourse, although non-alcoholic beer will be available.

The source told Reuters: “Beer will be available when gates open, which is three hours before kick-off. Whoever wants to have a beer will be able to. And then when they leave the stadium as well for one hour after the final whistle.”

Budweiser will also sell beer in FIFA fan zones during the tournament, which runs from November 20 to December 18. The tournament will be the first edition to take place in the Middle East, and Qatar, a predominantly Muslim country, has strict laws on drinking alcohol in public spaces.

A spokesperson for Budweiser brewer AB InBev told Reuters: “We are working closely with FIFA, which is managing the relationship with the Qatari authorities, to ensure our activations for the tournament are executed respectfully and in compliance with local rules and regulations.”

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is organising the tournament, has not yet officially commented on the matter. A FIFA spokesperson told the AFP news agency that it has focused on “catering for those who wish to enjoy an alcoholic drink while being respectful towards the local culture”.

More than one million people are expected to visit Qatar during the World Cup.