ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Jeremy Telman
Oklahoma City University
School of Law

Monday, November 21, 2022

The Beer Breach: Qatar and the World Cup

In a sobering development, Qatar has announced that it will not allow for beer sales at the World Cup.  As and report on Bloomberg here, this decision might entail a breach of not one but two contracts!  First, in banning beer from football stadiums, Qatar seems to be violating its agreement with FIFA, the entity responsible for organizing the World Cup.  In addition, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV is the official beer of the World Cup and paid millions to be exclusively available at World Cup venues.  Now beer sales will be relegated to "fan zones" outside stadiums. 

Soccer stadiumAccording to Tariq Panja reporting in The New York Times, FIFA President Gianni Infantino responded to criticisms of the decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar, criticisms that have  focused not so much on beer but on the working conditions of foreign laborers who built the stadiums and on Qatar's human rights record.  Comparing his experience as a redheaded child of immigrants to Switzerland to the plight of homosexuals in the Middle East, he decried the hypocrisy of human rights organizations and invited his audience to crucify him.  Nobody in the audience seemed inclined to do so, and FIFA is such a deeply corrupt organization, I don't think anybody thinks much will come from repeating the obvious.

According to Wikipedia, the following organizations have criticized Qatar for human rights abuses in connection with treatment of workers involved in constructions projects for the World Cup: Human Rights Watch, the International Trade Union Confederation, Amnesty International, the International Labor Organization, the UK Daily Mirror, the UK Guardian, Equidem, and FIFA.  Yup.  Hypocrites.

Will the result of the beer ban in major league baseball be replicated?  In 1961, the Milwaukee Braves attempted to ban carry-ins at their baseball stadium  As reported here, in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the ban did not go well.  Fans noticed, for the first time, that baseball is an incredibly boring sport.  There was a 26% drop in attendance.  Angry, sober fans burned down the stadium, killed and roasted the mascot, and renamed the team the Brewers.  Some of the details provided here might go beyond the accounts in the lamestream media, but we just report; you decide.

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