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'Disrespectful and Offensive': German Brewery Under Fire Over Saudi Flag Row

A local brewery has launched a marketing campaign ahead of the 2018 World Cup that wound up sparking outrage and ended in an apology.

A private Mannheim-based brewery, Eichbaum, has stirred active debate on social media after printing the national flags of each of the 32 World Cup teams on their bottle caps.

The criticism specifically arose regarding the national flag of Saudi Arabia. Social media users claimed that printing the Islamic statement of faith (which is written on the flag) on an alcoholic drink is inappropriate, as the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Saudi Arabia and in Islam in general.

Many have described the brewery's behavior as "very disrespectful and offensive."

Others, however, argued that the company had done nothing wrong.

In addition, it is not allowed to dispose of the Saudi national flag in the trash or destroy it — and that's what happens with a bottle cap after the beer has been opened.

After discussing the issue with local authorities, the brewery announced on Facebook that they had suspended the production of the World Cup bottle caps and will scrap the Saudi Arabia bottles from supermarkets.

READ MORE: Let's Get This Party Started: Which Country Has the Best World Cup Fans?

The decision is supposed to "prevent further possible insults," Eichbaum's representatives said.

Russia will host the FIFA World Cup from June 14 to July 15. The first game of the World Cup tournament — Russia vs. Saudi Arabia — will be held on June 14, in Moscow.

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