Scene from 2015 in Saudi, shared as visuals from FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022!

Misleading Sports

A viral image is from Saudi Arabia, taken in 2015, where alcohol is banned. Authorities caught a man at the country’s border with the United Arab Emirates with 48,000 cans of Heineken disguised as Pepsi. 

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is currently underway in the Islamic nation of Qatar. Since Qatar was surprisingly awarded the World Cup hosting rights more than a decade ago, local organisers and global soccer leaders have insisted that beer would be available for fans, despite alcohol being tightly controlled in Qatar. However, FIFA, the international football governing body, announced a ban on alcoholic beverages inside stadiums during World Cup matches two days before the event’s first game. The last-minute reversal raised questions among some supporters about the host country’s ability to deliver on promises to fans. However, according to the FIFA statement, spectators are permitted to purchase alcohol from designated areas.

Against this backdrop, viral social media claims surfaced with images of Heineken beer cans disguised as Pepsi cans. People who shared these images claimed that football fans were sneaking beer inside the stadium by adding fake Pepsi covers to the cans. 

Fans smuggling beer into world cup stadium disguised as Pepsi cans

The caption of the post states, Fans smuggling beer into Qatar 

Facebook Post |Archive link

The same image is also being shared on Twitter with the caption, “In Qatar, fans who are not allowed to enter the stadium with beer at the World Cup are being caught trying to enter the stadium with Pepsi stickers in this form. It should be noted that Qatar prohibits any alcoholic beverages”.

Twitter archive

Fact Check-

We first looked for news reports to see if any similar incidents had recently been reported from Qatar and found any credible ones. 

We discovered media reports about this viral image published on 12 November 2015 by performing a simple reverse image search on Google. According to the reports, Saudi authorities at the border with the United Arab Emirates caught a man with 48,000 cans of Heineken – all disguised as Pepsi cola. Alcohol is banned in Saudi Arabia.

“A truck carrying what first seemed to be normal cans of the soft drink Pepsi was stopped, and after the standard process of searching the products, it became clear that the alcoholic beers were covered with Pepsi’s sticker logos.” 

We also found a tweet about this news on the official verified handle of Al Arabiya news on 12 November 2015 with the caption, “#Saudi police confiscate 48,000 beer cans masked as soft drinks.” 

Taking account of all this evidence, it is clear that the viral image has no link with the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The image dates back to 2015, taken in Saudi Arabia, where alcohol is prohibited. Authorities caught a man at the country’s border with the United Arab Emirates with 48,000 Heineken cans disguised as Pepsi.


Fact Crescendo has found the claim made along with the viral image misleading. The viral image dates back to 2015 and does not relate to the FIFA World Cup 2002 Qatar.


Title:Image from 2015 shared as visuals from FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Fact Check By: Fact Crescendo Team 

Result: Misleading

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