Fact Check-Photo of Heineken cans disguised as Pepsi is unrelated to the World Cup in Qatar

An image of a customs agent discovering a shipment of beer cans disguised as Pepsi has been falsely linked to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Nearly 2,000 people have reacted to a Nov. 24 Facebook post which suggests the image shows Heineken cans that were smuggled into the tournament’s host country by football fans (here).

But the image can be traced back to 2015 in Saudi Arabia (see According to a statement from the kingdom’s Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, which originally published the photo, it relates to an incident from November 2015, where customs authorities found that a shipment of 48,000 Pepsi cans were in fact Heineken cans covered with stickers that mimicked Pepsi packaging.

Alcohol is banned in Saudi Arabia (here).

Moreover, the patch on the officer’s sleeve in the photo also shows he is working for Saudi Arabia’s customs authority.


Miscaptioned. The photo is from Saudi Arabia in 2015, not the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.