Budweiser has served as official beer sponsor for the FIFA World Cup for more than three decades, although whether alcohol will be sold in the stadiums at Qatar 2022 is uncertain ©Getty Images

Officials in Qatar are said to be contemplating an easing of the country's ban on alcohol for this year's World Cup, with FIFA reportedly lobbying for sales to be permitted in stadiums.

Consuming alcohol in Qatar is largely limited to luxury hotels and private clubs, with being drunk in public an offence.

It is not part of Qatari tradition or culture, and its availability for international visitors during the World Cup has been a point of contention.

A wet fan zone was trialled when the Gulf state held the FIFA Club World Cup in 2019, and a similar plan is expected for the showcase international football tournament later this year.

However, there is uncertainty over the sale of alcohol at the eight stadiums being used for the World Cup.

According to Bloomberg, officials in Qatar are facing pressure from FIFA and the brewing company AB InBev, whose drinks include Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of the World Cup for more than three decades.

Qatar is set to stage the FIFA World Cup later this year, with the first match scheduled for November 21 ©Getty Images
Qatar is set to stage the FIFA World Cup later this year, with the first match scheduled for November 21 ©Getty Images

One option under consideration is making a product with a lower alcohol content, possibly Bud Light, available at the venues.

In November 2016, Qatar 2022 claimed that fans would not be able to buy or drink alcohol in public places, although since then organisers appear to have shifted from this hardline approach.

A spokesperson for the Supreme Committee on Delivery and Legacy told Bloomberg that it was working with FIFA and relevant parties in Qatar to "cater to all local and visiting fans", while the publication reported that FIFA and AB InBev said they were seeking an atmosphere "respectful" towards the host nation's customs and traditions while making alcohol available where desired by fans.

The World Cup in Qatar has been mired in controversy ever since the nation was awarded hosting rights in December 2010 after a disputed bid process.

Human rights groups have criticised Qatar's treatment of migrant workers, and raised concerns over LGBT+ rights and the jailing of former World Cup media manager Abdullah Ibhais on fraud charges.

The Qatari Government claims it has made progress on labour reforms, including a shift away from the kafala system which forces foreign workers to seek their employers' consent to change jobs or leave the country.

FIFA claims that hosting the World Cup has helped to instigate Qatari labour reforms, while recognising that more can be done.

The tournament is due to be staged from November 21 to December 18.