FACT CHECK: Did Qatar arrest alcohol cans wrapped with Pepsi stickers?



CLAIM: A photos of a Heineken beer in cans wrapped with Pepsi stickers went viral on social media platforms, with a claim that it was smuggled into a stadium in Qatar at 2022 World Cup.

The Qatari government was, two days to the kick-off, reported to have banned the consumption and selling of beer within the event’s eight stadia, allowing only nonalcoholic drinks.

At the time of filing this report, it is unclear what prompted the ban so close to the tournament, but the sudden change is consistent with the tournament’s ever debate over use of alcohol in the pitch, and its availability to fans attending game.


When trying to fact check the claim, this reporter used Google lens in fact checking the photos and found out that the photo was used by different media outlets previously.

A NEW YORK DAILY NEWS used it in a report titled ‘Smuggler caught with 48,000 Heineken cans disguised as Pepsi at Saudi Arabian border crossing: officials’.

Islam Times, an Arabic news outlet published a similar news with title translated from using Google Translate ‘Foiling the smuggling of 48,000 cans of “beer” to Saudi Arabia’.

Both reports were published November 2015.

A further search by this reporter revealed that there is so far no any publication in any Qatari news outlets where similar incident was reported, including its police website.

What int’l football law says about using alcohol in a football stadium?

The Sporting Events (control of alcohol etc.) Act 1985 prohibits:

  • Drunken entry into a football ground (which, in practice, to be an arrest-able offence includes disorderly behavior).

  • The consumption of alcohol within view of the playing area including, during the restricted period (15 minutes before the start of the event to 15 minutes after the end of the event), rooms within the ground from which the event may be directly viewed.

  • The consumption of alcohol on certain coaches, trains and motor vehicles travelling to a designated football match.

  • The possession of fireworks or flares.

The act is up-to-date with all changes known to be in force on or before November 22, 2022.


The claim that Qatari authorities intercepted alcohol cans wrapped with Pepsi stickers is false and the photos attached with the claim is an old photo used by several media outlets in 2015, seven years ago.

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