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Mixing FIFA World Cup alcohol sponsorship agreements with Islamic host countries: a conceptual framework

Susan Dun (Communication Program, Northwestern University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar)
Hatim Rachdi (Communication Program, Northwestern University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar)

Journal of Islamic Marketing

ISSN: 1759-0833

Article publication date: 20 April 2023

Issue publication date: 4 January 2024

293

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to evaluate the FIFA requirement that World Cup host nations make alcohol available at World Cup stadia because of its sponsorship agreement with Anheuser-Busch. This paper suggests a framework that FIFA should use in evaluating potential host nations to address the ethical implications of alcohol at the World Cup, especially considering the recent Qatar 2022 World Cup, the first to be held in an Islamic Country.

Design/methodology/approach

Using historical analysis of recent World Cups and guided by the Culture-Centered Approach (Dutta, 2008) and stakeholder analysis literature, this paper examines the ethical dilemmas host nations have faced because of FIFA’s insistence on alcohol sales at World Cup stadia.

Findings

The analysis suggests that a three-step process of host country assessment, stakeholder mapping and negotiation would enable the discovery of potential ethical conflicts and thus their negotiation to mitigate the ethical conflicts FIFA’s preexisting sponsorship agreements create for some World Cup host nations, especially Islamic countries.

Research limitations/implications

While the framework is conceptual and has not been tested, the components from which the authors draw are well established. The application to mega events sports hosting negotiations is an original contribution. The interdisciplinary nature of the framework also provides a contribution to the research field.

Practical implications

Application of the framework would enable FIFA and host countries to negotiate mutually agreeable conditions and avoid placing host nations in ethically compromising situations, which is especially timely as FIFA expands into Islamic countries. Its utilization would provide a Halal environment for World Cups hosted in Islamic and perhaps other, countries.

Social implications

FIFA’s commitment to alcohol at World Cups should be questioned. FIFA should not expand this dangerous practice of associating sports with alcohol. Female fans may feel safer, as occurred in Qatar 2022.

Originality/value

This paper's framework uniquely combines communication and strategic management literature and applies it to mega sports events in an original way that would lead to more ethical and culturally contextualized World Cups rather than reifying the alcohol–sport nexus.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Dr Jairo Lugo-Ocando for his helpful guidance.

Citation

Dun, S. and Rachdi, H. (2024), "Mixing FIFA World Cup alcohol sponsorship agreements with Islamic host countries: a conceptual framework", Journal of Islamic Marketing, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 159-171. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIMA-11-2022-0294

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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