A delivery driver from California became the first fan to drink an official World Cup beer in Qatar as alcohol made its debut at the tournament.
Brian Davidson, 45, was served a pint of Budweiser at precisely 7pm in the largest fan zone of the World Cup in central Doha which opened for the first time amid wild celebrations.
He paid £12 for the honour of downing the first pint and waited almost two hours in a winding queue for the privilege.
Moments after supping his pint, Mr Davidson, who was at the head of a queue which had grown to almost 500 by the time bars opened told MailOnline: ‘This is a historic World Cup moment and this feels like the best beer I’ve ever had in my life. I’m going to finish it off as quickly as I can and then have another one.
‘It’s worth every cent. You might think the beer’s expensive but that’s what you have to pay at major international sports tournaments. I have come all this way. My big worry was that there wouldn’t be any beer at all so I don’t mind paying a bit more.
‘I was a bit concerned about the alcohol restrictions before I came to Qatar but I have to say all the worry and the wait was worth it. It feels great to be the first fan to have a beer at this tournament. I feel like Pele or Maradona-a World Cup history maker.’
Californian delivery driver Brian Davidson (pictured), 45, was the first fan to drink an official World Cup beer in Qatar after he was served a pint of Budweiser at precisely 7pm
‘This is a historic World Cup moment and this feels like the best beer I’ve ever had in my life’, Mr Davidson told MailOnline after downing his £12 pint
He had to wait for almost two hours in a winding queue for the honour of downing the first pint. Pictured: The queue for the bar in the largest fan zone of the World Cup in central Doha
Mr Davidson was served his beer at the FIFA Fan Festival in Doha’s Al Bidda Park which will be open every day of the tournament and can accommodate up to 40,000 fans.
He revealed that he had only arrived from his home in San Jose, California on Wednesday morning and decided to go to the opening of the Fan Festival so that he could get a pint after discovering that it was going on sale.
He added: ‘When I got here there was nobody waiting at the bar so I thought why not stick around and make sure I’m first in the queue and have the first pint of the 2022 World Cup. It’ll be something to tell the grandchildren.’
As excitement built up ahead of the 7pm bar opening time, fans shouted and hollered as staff initiated a countdown to the moment.
Briain being handed the first beer served at the 2022 Qatar World Cup at the FIFA Fan Festival in Doha’s Al Bidda Park
‘When I got here there was nobody waiting at the bar so I thought why not stick around and make sure I’m first in the queue and have the first pint of the 2022,’ said Mr Davidson
Nektatios Kassotakis, manager of the area serving alcohol within the fan zone told MailOnline that 48,000 cans of Budweiser had been stocked in fridges for the opening night and that another 500,000 were in stock for the remainder of the tournament.
He gushed: ‘I feel very proud to be the head of this section that is offering alcohol at a tournament where it has been a big issue. It’s a great honour and we will make sure that we will serve the alcohol responsibly.
‘I know this is a Muslim country with strict laws on alcohol but it’s great that fans from all the over the world will be able to enjoy a drink while they watch games in the fan zones. Football and beer are like love and marriage-they go together.’
Mr Kassotakis, who has travelled from Greece to manage the beer operation in Qatar’s largest fan zone added: ‘We’ve got a lot of beer in stock. I’m hoping that by the end of the World Cup it will all be finished and everyone will have had a great time.
‘But we’ve also got a lot of security around to make sure fans behave themselves.’
Fans will only be permitted to buy four pints at a time. Non-alcoholic beer is also available at £10 per pint.
Qatar has strict Islamic laws in place over the sale and consumption of alcohol, which have been relaxed for the World Cup.
During the tournament, which gets underway on Sunday beer will only be allowed to be sold outside the stadium bowl.
Nektatios Kassotakis (pictured), manager of the area serving alcohol within the fan zone told MailOnline that 48,000 cans of Budweiser had been stocked in fridges for the opening night and that another 500,000 were in stock
Once the World Cup kicks off beer will only be available in fan zones like the one in Al Bidda after 6.30pm and drunk fans will be sent to special zones to sober up.
Budweiser is one of FIFA’s most lucrative sponsors and has the exclusive right to sell beer at World Cup matches.
But despite the joy of fans and being able to knock back a pint many were dismayed by the price of food and drink in the fan zone.
Burgers were on sale at £12, a chicken sandwich £8 while nachos were going for £8.
Switzerland fan Marion Spichticg moaned: ‘The beer is very expensive and so is the food. I’m going to a few games and will come back to this fan zone because it’s been great fun. But I don’t think I’ll be drinking and eating much when I’m here.’
Thousands attended the opening of the Fan Zone, which has a large stage, dazzling lights and a variety of football related activities. They were also treated to a DJ spinning a series of Arabic and Western tunes and Michael Jackson tribute show.
The alcohol area was tucked away in a corner of the Fan Zone, around 100 metres from the main stage. The only break in proceedings was when it was announced that there would be a pause for evening prayers.