How limiting alcohol in Qatar changed football forever


By: Wali Mubashir Kazmi
A Level 1st year Aitchison College
The FIFA World Cup is the largest international soccer tournament in the world, held every four years and featuring teams from countries all over the globe. In the past, the World Cup has been marked by both intense competition and also by instances of hooliganism and violence. In an effort to curb such behavior, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) implemented a ban on alcohol at World Cup games starting in the 1994 tournament.

This ban has had a significant impact on the sport and has changed the World Cup experience for players, fans, and event organizers. Before the ban on alcohol at the World Cup, there had been a number of instances of violence and disorderly conduct at the tournament. In the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, for example, there were several instances of fan violence, including a clash between fans of the Soviet Union and Chile that resulted in multiple injuries. In the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, there were also several instances of fan violence, including a riot that broke out between Argentine and Uruguayan fans. In response to these incidents, FIFA decided to implement a ban on alcohol at World Cup games starting with the 1994 tournament.

The ban was put in place in an effort to regard the sanctity of the country and the culture generally applied to its persons. It applied to all World Cup games, including both the group stage and the knockout rounds. Although alcohol wasn’t completely banned, with certain areas being allocated to fans who wished to drink, any alcoholic beverages could not go beyond that area. Western media takes it upon itself to report Qatar as an incredibly enclosed and strict location for a world cup, while completely disregarding the norms followed in the country.

Even if limiting alcohol sales at the World Cup had a significant economic downside to it, one of the most positive impacts has been on the behavior of fans. Since the implementation of the ban, there have been significantly fewer instances of violence and disorder at the World Cup. In the 1994 World Cup, for example, there were no instances of fan violence reported, with even less cases of drunken harassment or assault being reported, at least to relevant authorities.

Prior to the ban, alcohol sales at World Cup games were a significant source of revenue for event organizers. With the ban in place, this source of income has been eliminated. This has led to a decrease in overall revenue for the event, as well as a decrease in the amount of money available for investment in the sport.

Despite the economic consequences of the ban, many believe that it has been a necessary measure in order to ensure the safety and enjoyment of fans at the World Cup. The absence of alcohol has helped to create a more positive and enjoyable atmosphere at the event, with a more family-friendly environment being evident.

The ban on alcohol at the FIFA World Cup has proven to be a positive step towards creating a safer and more enjoyable environment for fans. The incidents of violence and disorderly conduct that had become common during the tournament have significantly decreased since the implementation of the ban. The absence of alcohol has created a more family-friendly atmosphere, which is a welcome change for many fans attending the event. Although the ban has had some economic consequences, the safety and enjoyment of fans should be given priority over financial gain.

The tournament has the potential to create a positive impact on the sport, society, and culture, and ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all should be the top priority. It is essential to note that the ban on alcohol does not signify a ban on the country’s culture, but rather an effort to maintain decorum and respect for the country’s values. While the Western media may attempt to misrepresent the situation in Qatar, it is crucial to acknowledge and respect the cultural norms of the host country. In conclusion, the ban on alcohol at the FIFA World Cup has had a positive impact on the tournament, creating a safer and more family-friendly environment for fans.

While the economic consequences of the ban cannot be ignored, it is essential to prioritize the safety and enjoyment of fans over financial gain. By doing so, the FIFA World Cup can continue to be a celebration of soccer and an occasion for fans from all over the world to come together in a spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie.