FIFA Crowds Are Literally Chanting And Begging For Beer

Like the Olympics, the World Cup is simultaneously a sporting event and a moment for its host country to hold court on the world stage. Qatar's foray into the intense world of international soccer hosting has proved both controversial and eventful from the start. There has been speculation about bribery at the root of  FIFA's choice of Qatar's bid in the first place (per NPR); questions about the feasibility of Qatar's hosting given the nation's limited infrastructure (via Bloomberg); great concern over human rights violations over the treatment of workers and the LGBTQ population — not to mention the country's restrictively hot climate (per ESPN). It's been a messy, bumpy ride, and the games have only just begun. 

Now that the fans are in the stadiums, though, the outside concerns should be settling down as teams hit the pitch, right? Apparently not. Two days before the games were set to begin, FIFA announced that beer would not be sold in stadiums. Islam is the official religion of Qatar, and the Koran forbids alcohol. Presumably, a mutually acceptable agreement between the hosts and FIFA had been reached in previous discussions, but whatever the case, beer is now off limits at venues, much to leading-sponsor Budweiser's chagrin. 

Suffice to say, the fans are not happy. During the opening game between Qatar and Ecuador, Ecuadorian fans let their feelings be known — loudly (via Twitter). 

Queremos cerveza (we want beer), loud and clear

Ecuador won handily against Qatar's home team, which is the second lowest-ranked team in World Cup host history (per ESPN). Perhaps it was Enner Valencia's strong performance that gave his sober supporters the sense that they had the upper hand in making such a direct request, because they certainly voiced their desires loud and clear (via The Athletic).  

Once fans got going, you can hear them really hit their stride, as a large portion of the cheering section repeated in unison, "Queremos cerveza!" ("We want beer!") Video on the cheering was shared on Twitter, referred to as the World Cup's first "hit." But not everyone was on board with the beer-loving sentiment, or fans' approach. Some considered the chanting disrespectful to the host nation. One such Twitter user commented, "the fact that fans can't watch a game of soccer without alcohol in their hands is really sad." While it may indeed be a sad situation, we're sure Budweiser would love to make those fans very happy.