The Fifa World Cup sponsor Budweiser has announced that the alcoholic beer it cannot sell in stadiums in Qatar will go to the winning country of the tournament.
Despite Budweiser’s reported $75m (£63m) deal with Fifa, a decision that alcoholic beer could not be sold in World Cup stadiums was taken two days before the tournament started. That led the brand to tweet – then delete – the message: “Well, this is awkward …”
Budweiser announced the beer would go to the winning side with a tweet saying: “New Day, New Tweet. Winning Country gets the Buds. Who will get them?” and a picture of a large quantity of beer in a storage warehouse.
The move sparked considerable mockery on social media, with some users suggesting the move acts as a disincentive to winning the World Cup because the American brand of beer has a low reputation in some European countries, despite its being owned by AB InBev, which is based in Leuven in Belgium. “Props to Budweiser on giving everyone the perfect excuse to not win the tournament,” quipped one person on Twitter.
The company’s non-alcoholic brand, Bud Zero, is still available in the stadiums. Budweiser has been a World Cup sponsor since the 1986 tournament in Mexico. In the wake of the announcement of the beer ban, Fifa’s president, Gianni Infantino, said the governing body had failed to persuade the Qatar government to stand by the original decision to allow sales, but that if anything the situation “has brought us even closer together” with Budweiser.
Now it looks as if the team that prevail in Qatar’s alcohol-free Lusail Stadium in the final on 18 December will be taking home not just the trophy and the $42m (£35m) prize money, but a slab of beer for their country as well.