Lobby entity Detergent Formula Group are planning to sue the World Football body FIFA over the ban of alcohol inside or around the perimeter of stadiums ahead of the global football spectacle which kicks off in November 20.
Fifa confirmed alcohol will be banned for World Cup fans at grounds in a major and unprecedented volte-face just a day before the tournament commences in Qatar with a fixture pitting the hosts against Ecuador.
According to the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the lobby group Dr David Matsanga, FIFA should show cause as to why they should not be sued for damages for banning alcohol hours before the start of matches in Doha.
“We Detergent Formula Group hereby give notice to FIFA and Qatar that due to the public interest we shall next week move to Old Bailey in United Kingdom to place a petition against the government of Qatar and FIFA
“The basis of our application is to seek orders from British Courts and determination on the matter and for British Courts to find as whether human rights of the world citizens were not infringed on” a statement on their website was quoted.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino lashed out at European critics of World Cup host Qatar after the state banned the sale of beer in its stadiums a day before the start of the competition.
Infantino criticised those speaking out against Qatar’s human rights abuses and management of the World Cup and dismissed complaints over the alcohol ban.
It said: “Following discussions between host country authorities and Fifa, a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the Fifa Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing sales points of beer from Qatar’s World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters.
“There is no impact to the sale of Bud Zero, which will remain available at all Qatar’s World Cup stadiums.”
Football’s governing body will now be looking nervously over its shoulders at the prospect of legal action from Budweiser, which has a $75m (£63m) sponsorship agreement with Fifa, and is likely to regard this as a major breach of contract.
The sale of alcohol is strictly controlled in Qatar, a conservative Muslim nation, but organisers had promised it would be available in match venues and in fan zones – and that it would also be reasonable priced.
However it has now decided that alcohol will be available at matches only in hospitality boxes, where the cheapest suites are nearly £20,000 a match, and some fan zones after 7pm, where it will cost nearly £12 for 500ml of Budweiser.
This is a tournament where there will be a large number of supporters from Gulf and Asian countries, where drinking alcohol is not part of the culture.