FIFA head says fans should be able to abstain at World Cup

Doha, Qatar (AP) — FIFA President Gianni Infantino downplayed Qatar’s last-minute ban on beer sales at World Cup stadiums as nothing more than a brief inconvenience for spectators.

“If this is the biggest problem we have, I will sign it (the deal),” Infantino said on Saturday, a day after the conservative Muslim emirate reviewed the deal it struck to secure the soccer tournament.

Infantino blamed the decision on “mob flows” in Doha, although it appeared to be a decision by Qatar’s autocratic government to appease its conservative Wahhabi citizens, who were already angered by some of the events surrounding the tournament, which they see as Western excesses.

Infantino said the ban on beer in stadiums was made jointly by Qatari officials and FIFA.

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“We tried until the end to see if it was possible,” Infantino said of the alcohol sales permit. “If you can’t drink beer for 3 hours a day, you’ll survive. Maybe there’s a reason France, Spain, Scotland ban alcohol in stadiums. Maybe we’re smarter because they thought we should do it.”


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