Public drunkenness is illegal in Qatar, the conservative Arab nation that will host the 2022 World Cup. That might be problem when half a million drunken soccer fans descend on its streets.
Or maybe not. Qatari officials announced on Monday a plan for dealing with the stumbling revelers: special courts to quickly and “very gently” deal with them. Think of it as Eagles court in the desert.
It’s a similar move to what happened in South Africa in 2008, where 56 courts were set up to process the rash of foreign fans behaving badly.
But Qatar is a slightly different animal, because unlike South Africa, alcohol is only served to the upper crust in Qatar. It’s not a nation used to groups of vacationing drunks rolling around the sidewalks—a sure sight at any World Cup.
Not that it will be easy for those drunks to come by. There are only two liquor stores in Qatar and they only sell booze to expats who have a permit. There's also this: "Any alcohol bought must be hidden from view and taken straight home."
It’s remains unclear if alcohol will be sold in World Cup stadiums in 2022, but when Brazil tried to deny alcohol sales at stadiums in 2014, FIFA forced the country to backtrack.
Qatar’s sports minister has vowed to find “creative” solutions to the problem but a solution that doesn't satisfy World Cup sponsor Anheuser-Busch InBev seems unlikely.
Remember, FIFA is running this show, so the companies writing the checks will get what they want. In this case, that means booze.