Beer 'must be sold' at Brazil World Cup, says Fifa

Maracana football stadium in Rio de Janeiro Beer has been banned at Brazilian football matches since 2003

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Beer must be sold at all venues hosting matches in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, football's world governing body, Fifa, has insisted.

Fifa General Secretary Jerome Valcke said the right to sell beer must be enshrined in a World Cup law the Brazilian Congress is considering.

Alcoholic drinks are currently banned at Brazilian stadiums and the country's health minister has urged Congress to maintain the ban in the new law.

Brewer Budweiser is a big Fifa sponsor.

Mr Valcke is visiting Brazil to press for progress on the much-delayed World Cup law.

'Won't negotiate'

Fifa has become frustrated because voting on the legislation has been held up in Congress by the dispute over alcohol sales.

The Brazilian government has also failed to resolve differences with Fifa over cut-price tickets for students and senior citizens, and demands for sponsors of the World Cup to have their trademarks protected.


The profile of World Cup supporters will be radically different from that of domestic Brazilian football, where violence is fuelled by club rivalries.

But this is not about violence, or even beer. It is about sovereignty.

Fifa makes all sorts of demands on a World Cup host nation, from tax waivers to the necessity to provide stadiums, transport and hotel infra-structure - controversial issues in the developing world, where there are so many claims on the public purse.

Largely because of poor domestic organisation, the costs of staging the tournament are spiralling. But one area where Brazil's government can flex its muscles is that of sovereignty - which is why beer sales and ticket prices, governed by local law, are now the front line in the tension between Brazil and Fifa.

In remarks to journalists in Rio de Janeiro, Mr Valcke sounded frustrated with Brazilian officials.

"Alcoholic drinks are part of the Fifa World Cup, so we're going to have them. Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that's something we won't negotiate," he said.

"The fact that we have the right to sell beer has to be a part of the law."

Alcohol was banned at Brazilian football matches in 2003 as part of attempts to tackle violence between rival football fans.

The measures have had limited impact, says the BBC's South American football correspondent Tim Vickery.

In order to drink, supporters tend to stay longer outside stadiums, areas that are harder to police than inside.

Much of the football violence in Brazil stems from club rivalries, our correspondent notes. Fans who follow the national side tend to be wealthier and include more women and families.

Builders at the Minerao Stadium in Belo Horizonte (14 December 2011) Mr Valcke criticised the pace of construction at Brazil's world cup venues

Health Minister Alexandre Padilha and other members of Congress have called for the ban to be maintained.

Mr Valcke said negotiations with Brazil over details of the World Cup had been slow.

"We lost a lot of time and we were not able to discuss with people in charge that are willing to make a decision," he said, adding that it was the first time a country was still in talks five years after winning the right to host the tournament.

During his visit to Brazil, Mr Valcke has been touring the stadiums in 12 cities where the 2014 World Cup will be played.

He criticised the pace of construction and said Brazil had not yet improved its infrastructure to the level needed to welcome visitors.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    In 2007 I was in rio and one of the games I saw in the Maracana was Flamango v Botofogo. I've not seen an atmosphere like it. AMAZING! We were getting beers off sellers in the stands so I don't know if this ban is actually working! Can't wait for the Brazil world cup, won't have another good one for decades!

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    In South Africa, there were Vuvuzelas, which we weren't used to but made the atmosphere unique. Why not go alcohol free in Brazil? I'm sure it's still possible to enjoy a game without being drugged.

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    I went to the Brazilian Cup final at the Maracana on my first day of a round the world friends and I were amazed that baseball style vendors were going round the stadium selling beer for roughly 50p per can. We spent around £5 each and missed the bus home. If there has been a ban in place since 2003, how was this possible?

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    the FIFA stance on the sale of alcohol at Brazil world cup is driven ONLY by the revenue that will be generated from the sponsorship major brewers. If this was about football in Brazil then they would respect the stance on alcohol taken by the Brazilian authorities to combat drink releated trouble at matches.

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    So if I go to a friend's house, a friend who doesn't drink, can I bring my own beer and drink it at their table even though they have expressly asked me not to do so? If so, can I justify it because I'm wearing a 'Budweiser' tshirt?


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