Football fans will be allowed to drink alcohol if Saudi Arabia is successful in its quest to host the 2034 World Cup.
The Muslim country outlaws the sale and consumption of alcohol but could allow alcohol to be sold in hotels and prohibited ‘fan zones’ if it is awarded the tournament.
‘It has not been publicly discussed but it is an accepted fact,’ a source told The Sun.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced its intent to offer to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup earlier this week.
Analysts have cautioned FIFA that to allow the oil-rich state to host the tournament would be ‘sports washing’, covering up for its ‘atrocious human rights record’.
‘We acknowledge very serious mistakes have been made in the past and want the world to understand that we are changing’, the source told the Sun.
The sale and consumption of alcohol is rigidly prohibited in Saudi Arabia. Foreigners who will be caught drinking would face public flogging, fines, imprisonment, and deportation.
However, the country seems to have relaxed its stance with the prospect of hosting the 2034 World Cup, announcing it would bid on Wednesday.
Yasser Al Misehal, President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), said in a statement released on the SAFF website: ‘We believe the time is right for Saudi Arabia to host the FIFA World Cup.
‘Our bid is driven by a love for the game and a desire to see it grow in every corner of the world. We want to celebrate our football culture and share our country with the world.