England stars families find loophole around Qatar booze problem

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England players’ families have reportedly found a way to get more bang for their buck in Qatar aboard a luxury cruise ship. The country’s alcohol policy has been a prominent topic of debate at the World Cup with fans forced to pay extortionate prices in restricted areas away from stadiums. 

Some supporters were dealt a blow in the lead-up to the tournament as Budweiser announced that a beer would set them back a whopping £11.60. That’s despite Qatari organisers hinting that the country’s strict approach to alcohol could be relaxed during the World Cup. 

Just days before kick-off, pressure from the Qatari royal family is then thought to have sparked a late U-turn on the sale of alcohol in and around stadiums. Fans are only able to buy the non-alcoholic version of Budweiser outside of designated fan parks and a select few hotels and restaurants, leaving the drinks giant with hoards of surplus stock. 

Supporters in fan parks have also faced a limit of four drinks per person, but The Telegraph claim that England players’ families have found a loophole with many of them staying aboard a luxury cruise ship. 

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While single alcoholic drinks are said to be just as expensive on board the ship as in the fan parks, families are supposedly taking advantage of meal deals which can include unlimited drinks served alongside food for as little as £50. 

That has presented them with a bargain money-saving opportunity as, even without the food, four drinks in one of the fan zones would set them back a similar amount. Most families surrounding the England camp are believed to be staying aboard the ship, including entourages from other nations and members of the public. 

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The FA have taken an extremely cautious approach on players seeing their families due to the catastrophic consequences that would come with a coronavirus outbreak in the England camp. Face-to-face meetings between Three Lions stars and their families have therefore been virtually impossible but manager Gareth Southgate claims that something could be in the works after the game against the USA on Friday.

“Well, we’re going to see how the next few days go and we’ve talked about maybe looking at something after the second game, but we’ve got to monitor what the rates out here are as much as anything else,” he told reporters this week.

“We’re going to have to monitor it throughout, but also there’s this balance of the spirit and happiness of the group and the medical line of zero risk, and sometimes if you’re going to take zero risks it can kill it for everybody, so we’ve got to try and find that balance.”

England kick-started their 2022 World Cup campaign with a handsome 6-2 victory over Iran on Monday, with Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham in stellar form ahead of what promises to be a comparatively tougher test against the USA. 

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