FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Alcohol That Was Smuggled Into The World Cup?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows smuggled alcohol into Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Verdict: False

The image appears in a 2015 Telegraph article about smugglers entering Saudi Arabia with beer cans disguised as Pepsi.

Fact Check:

Qatar, the nation hosting the 2022 World Cup, has previously been criticized for its human rights abuses, including the criminalization of homosexuality, NPR reported. The country has pushed back on the criticism, assuring that “everyone is welcome” to the country “regardless of background,” according to CNN.

The Facebook post purports soccer fans smuggled alcohol into the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The photo appears to show a Pepsi label being removed from a can of Heineken beer.

The claim is false. The image of the beer cans being disguised with Pepsi labels appears in a 2015 article from the U.K.-based newspaper, The Telegraph. (RELATED: Is The Code Of Conduct Poster For The World Cup Real?)

“Smugglers attempt to enter Saudi Arabia with 48,000 beer cans disguised as Pepsi,” the article’s headline reads. The smugglers were caught by customs officials in Saudi Arabia, the article indicates.

There are no credible news reports suggesting soccer fans smuggled alcohol into the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Likewise, the claim neither appears on FIFA’s website nor its verified social media accounts. The official Twitter account for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar also has not publicly mentioned the claim.

FIFA published a statement on Nov. 18 informing soccer fans that alcohol, with the exception of Bud Zero, would not be sold at stadiums hosting the World Cup in Qatar.

“Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing sales points of beer from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters,” the statement read in part.

Check Your Fact has contacted FIFA for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter

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