Lobbying entity Detergent Formula Group plans to sue world football body FIFA over a ban on alcohol in or around the perimeter of stadiums ahead of the world football spectacle which begins on November 20.
Fifa has confirmed alcohol will be banned for World Cup fans on pitches in a major and unprecedented about-face just a day before the tournament kicks off in Qatar with a match between the hosts Ecuador .
According to the lobby group’s founder and chief executive, Dr David Matsanga, FIFA should justify why it should not be sued for damages for banning alcohol hours before the start of matches in Doha.
“We Detergent Formula Group hereby inform FIFA and Qatar that due to public interest we will be moving next week to the Old Bailey in the UK to file a petition against the Government of Qatar and FIFA.
“The basis of our request is to seek orders from the UK courts and a decision on the matter and for the UK courts to determine whether the human rights of citizens of the world have not been violated,” a statement said. on their website.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has blasted European critics of World Cup host Qatar after the state banned the sale of beer at its stadiums a day before the competition began.
Infantino slammed those who spoke out against Qatar’s human rights abuses and handling of the World Cup and dismissed complaints about the alcohol ban.
He said: “Following discussions between the authorities of the host country and Fifa, a decision has been taken to concentrate the sale of alcoholic beverages at the Fifa Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing beer outlets from the perimeters of Qatar 2022 World Cup stadiums.
“There is no impact on the sale of Bud Zero, which will remain available at all World Cup stadiums in Qatar.”
Football’s governing body will now look nervously over its shoulders at the prospect of legal action from Budweiser, which has a $75m (£63m) sponsorship deal with Fifa, and is likely to view this as a major breach of contract.
The sale of alcohol is strictly controlled in Qatar, a conservative Muslim country, but organizers had promised it would be available at match venues and fan zones – and also reasonably priced.
However, it has now decided that alcohol will only be available at matches in the hospitality boxes, where the cheapest suites cost nearly £20,000 a match, and some fan zones after 7 p.m., where it is available. will cost nearly £12 for 500ml of Budweiser.
It is a tournament where there will be a large number of fans from the Gulf countries and Asia, where drinking alcohol is not part of the culture.