The World Cup is finally upon us, and let’s face it, we’re probably not as excited as we were four years ago, or even last year during the European Championships.
It’s a World Cup like no other, with the tournament shrouded in controversy and in a country that isn’t exactly going to allow fans to experience it as normal. Which, of course, may be no bad thing.
If one thing that the European Championship Final at Wembley proved last year, is that soccer fans and drugs and alcohol are not the greatest of friends, with many of the fans that broke into the stadium needing to reevaluate their relationship with substances and consider visiting a drug and alcohol rehab clinic rather than an afternoon on the terraces.
Alcohol at Qatar 2022
Alcohol is going to be one of the biggest differences when it comes to the World Cup and being unlike any other. Fans in Qatar are going to have to be careful due to the laws in the country, with drunken behaviour against the law and expected to land fans in special zones to sober up.
While drunken behaviour is of course nothing to shout about, it could well change the entire atmosphere of stadiums, which will have a knock on effect on consumers via the television too. Are we going to see the carnival-like atmospheres of Brazil and South Africa? Perhaps not. At the same time, we’re unlikely to see the same sort of anti-social behaviour and hooliganism that has blighted tournaments either.
Statements have been made by players in the past. Cristiano Ronaldo shunned Coca Cola, which led to a $4billion drop in the company’s market value at the European Championships last year, while many Muslim players have removed beer sponsors from tables during press conferences.
Player power has increased over the last few years and more feel confident to make a stand, which could be prevalent in Qatar, given the nation’s stance on things such as same sex relationships and the treatment of migrant workers in building the stadiums.
FIFA has urged teams to focus on soccer, but it’s believed Harry Kane will wear a OneLove armband in support of the LGBT+ community, while Australian players have also spoken out about their issues with the Qatari government.
That could mean a completely different World Cup, where focus shifts to the front pages of the newspapers rather than the back, with players having the opportunity to make change for good alongside trying to lift a trophy for their country.