A last-minute stadium alcohol ban has denied fans the chance of a beer at all World Cup games.
FIFA confirmed it is removing sales points for sponsor beer company Budweiser within all stadium perimeters “following discussions with host country authorities”.
Sources close to the organising committee insisted the concern surrounding alcohol was for the impact on fans in stadiums from Qatar, the Middle East and the wider Asian continent, for whom drinking is not part of the culture.
Meanwhile, England playmaker James Maddison’s fitness continues to be a subject for debate and Brazil forward Gabriel Martinelli has his sights set on World Cup glory.
Here, the PA news agency looks back on Friday’s events at the 2022 World Cup.
Beer ban to be enforced
The sale of alcohol to fans at World Cup stadiums in Qatar has been banned with just two days to go until the tournament kicks off.
Fans at matches will no longer be able to buy Budweiser, which would have been the only alcoholic beverage available to fans due to its sponsorship of FIFA.
Now no one attending games will be able to consume alcohol within the stadium perimeter, with the exception of corporate spectators.
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) November 18, 2022
Supporters will still be able to consume alcohol in designated fan zones
Wayne Hennessey hopes the alcohol ban at stadiums will not affect the atmosphere created by fans at Wales’ games.
The goalkeeper said: “I hope it does not.
“The support of the Wales fans is our 12th man, so hopefully it won’t distract them in any way.”
Maddison still not in full training
James Maddison was again the only player to train away from the main group as England continued to prepare for their World Cup opener against Iran on Monday.
Maddison hopes to be fit for the start of the tournament after a positive scan on the knee complaint which saw him substituted in the first half of Leicester’s win at West Ham last weekend.
The midfielder came out for the pre-session huddle on Friday but worked away from the main group for the second straight day due to what the Football Association called load management.
Martinelli enjoying his rapid rise
Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli hopes his dream year will culminate in a World Cup win.
The 21-year-old has enjoyed a great season with the Gunners but, nevertheless, he was a surprise selection in the Brazil squad.
“When Tite called me up to the senior squad for the first time back in March, I didn’t know what to say,” Martinelli told the Players’ Tribune.
This is my story so far 🇧🇷
— Gabriel Martinelli (@gabimartinelli) November 18, 2022
“He sent me a text and I swear, I must have read over my reply 20 times. I was terrified of writing something wrong.
“When I got called up to the World Cup squad last week, I got that magic feeling all over again.
“When my family gathers in the backyard for this one, I’ll be on the TV screen and we’ll bring home the sixth (World Cup), God willing.”
Women will not be excluded – Collina
FIFA’s referees chief Pierluigi Collina indicated cultural sensitivities would not bar female officials from taking charge of certain games at the World Cup.
France’s Stephanie Frappart, Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda and Japanese ref Yamashita Yoshimi have all been selected for the finals, with one set to make history as the first woman ever to oversee a men’s World Cup finals match.
Iran enter the finals at a time when the rights of women in the country are in the spotlight after the death in custody of Mahsa Amini. She was arrested for allegedly not complying with rules over head coverings and her death has sparked nationwide protests against the country’s rulers.
Collina was asked if a female referee could take charge of a match involving Iran, Saudi Arabia or Qatar, and was adamant only considerations around neutrality and performance would come into play in the decision-making process.
He said: “Our match officials can be important for all matches and if there are restrictions, they are restrictions to do with neutrality – it’s obvious that this will be considered.
“But they are here as FIFA World Cup 2022 officials and they are ready to officiate any kind of match, depending of course on their performances.”