Doha – Fifa president Gianni Infantino said Saturday that World Cup fans can survive for three hours a day without beer after sales were banned around stadiums.
"I think personally if for three hours a day you cannot drink a beer, you will survive," he told his opening press conference in Doha. "The same applies in France, Spain, Scotland."
World Cup chiefs on Friday banned beer sales around stadiums in Qatar in a stunning U-turn, just 48 hours before Sunday's kickoff.
Alcohol is largely prohibited in the Islamic nation but the organisers sparked fury from fans with their dramatic late decision.
Football's world governing body FIFA said beer would not be sold to fans around any of the eight World Cup stadiums following discussions with the hosts.
It said beer sales would be focused on fan zones and licensed venues, "removing sales points of beer from Qatar's FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters".
It gave no reason for the surprise decision, but media reports have indicated there had been an intervention by Qatar's ruling Royal family on the matter.
Dozens of Budweiser beer tents had already been set up at grounds ahead of the first game.