FIFA and Budweiser strike huge new deal despite ban at 2022 World Cup

Zürich, Switzerland - Soccer ruling body FIFA has struck a new deal with Budweiser despite banning the products from sale at World Cup venues in Qatar last year.

FIFA and host nation Qatar announced beer sales at stadiums would not go ahead at the 2022 World Cup just two days before it started.
FIFA and host nation Qatar announced beer sales at stadiums would not go ahead at the 2022 World Cup just two days before it started.  © NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP

The new agreement with ABInBev, the company which owns the brand, makes the product the official beer of this summer’s Women’s World Cup and the men’s World Cup in 2026.

FIFA pulled plans to sell Budweiser, except for the alcohol-free Bud Zero, within stadium perimeters in Qatar on the eve of the finals last November. It was reported at the time that FIFA had come under pressure from Qatar’s royal family, in a country where the consumption and purchase of alcohol is severely restricted.

A tweet from Budweiser at the time of FIFA’s decision, which was quickly deleted, read: "Well, this is awkward."

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It was reported last year that the company would seek a reduction of around $47.38 million on its next deal in light of the move.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on the eve of the World Cup last year: "Partners are partners in good and bad times, in difficult and easy times.

"When times are more tense, the partnership gets stronger. I am very grateful to Budweiser for the co-operation we have had in the last years, and last couple of weeks."

The company took the decision to ship the beer it was unable to sell in Qatar to the winning country.

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Marcel Marcondes, chief marketing officer at ABInBev, commenting on the new deal, said: "Cheering and celebrating over a beer is a part of the experience for billions of football fans.

"We’re proud to continue offering new, meaningful ways to engage with fans and give unrivalled, immersive experiences that connect them to the sport that they love."

Cover photo: NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP

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