Imogen Watson
Nov 08, 2022

BrewDog announces 'anti-sponsorship' of controversial Qatar World Cup

The brewer has spoken out against the World Cup, in work by Saatchi & Saatchi London

BrewDog announces 'anti-sponsorship' of controversial Qatar World Cup

BrewDog has announced its “anti-sponsorship” of the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar, with a series of punchy out-of-home billboards.


The copy-led creative uses typical football phrases such as "Eat, sleep, breathe, football" and "The beautiful game", but spraypaints over them, replacing the word game with "shame", and breathe with "bribe", to highlight BrewDog's anti-establishment "anti-sponsor" stance.

The London-based out-of-home campaign, which marks Saatchi & Saatchi London's first work for the brand, also addresses the controversial 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia with the line: "Now Russia, then Qatar. Can't wait for North Korea."


BrewDog said in a statement on its website: "This isn't a World Cup. It's a World F*Cup. Football's been dragged through the mud before a single ball's been kicked. Let's be honest: Qatar won it through bribery. On an industrial scale." 


The brand added that it was "kicking off" because homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and pointed to a report by The Guardian that 6,500 migrant workers had died since Qatar had won the rights to host the World Cup.


Despite the hype, the tournament has been tarnished by bad press ever since Qatar won the bid. Last week, Australian football players released a collective statement against Qatar's human rights record, criticising the nation's treatment of migrant workers and LGBT+ people.

BrewDog has pledged to donate all profits made from its Lost Lager beer sold in the UK during the World Cup to charities dedicated to fighting human rights abuse in Qatar. 
After BrewDog launched the work on social media, some commentators questioned whether the brewer is the right voice to condemn human rights abuses as well as its decision to show the games in its pubs. 
The criticism follows "Punks with Purpose”, an group of former BrewDog staff who wrote an open letter in June 2021, accusing the company of a “culture of fear”.
James Watt, BrewDog chief executive and co-founder, defended the company's decision to show the games in a post on LinkedIn. He wrote: "We want to give people a place to watch the game and do some good at the same time. Let's be honest – people are still going to watch the games – so we want to give them the opportunity to watch the games and raise money to drive positive change at the same time."

(This article first appeared on

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