SAUDI Arabia is preparing to lift its alcohol ban in order to support its unpopular campaign to host the 2034 World Cup.
Fearing that thousands of spectators would boycott a dry tournament, a compromise solution might include the sale of alcohol in hotels and restricted fan zones.
After Fifa awarded the 2030 tournament to Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, as well as opening games in Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay, the Arab nation became the contentious favourites to host 2034.
Football executives were accused by critics of stealing “dirty money” from a regime responsible for horrendous human rights violations and the grisly death of a dissident journalist.
The Muslim country outlaws alcohol sale and consumption — and foreigners caught drinking face public flogging, huge fines, lengthy imprisonment and deportation.
But a Saudi source told The Sun: “Football fans will be allowed to drink if Saudi Arabia stages the World Cup.
It has not been publicly discussed but it is an accepted fact.
“We acknowledge very serious mistakes have been made in the past and want the world to understand that we are changing.”
Last year, Qatar broke its promise to allow beer sales at matches just two days before kick-off — banning sponsor Budweiser’s lager until after the evening call to prayer.