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 234.

    You take the money they call the tune,

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    Valcke should just take his ball and go home.

  • 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 231.

    This is different to gun law changes for the Olympics. I don't know if they have been changed but the argument was to allow competitors in certain gun groups to train and compete with out falling foul of the law.

    This is about sell booze to non-competitors in places where it is currently banned & not selling it to footballers although it might make The Cup more interesting :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    Will the Fifa General Secretary insist same Beer policy while FIFA 2022 takes place in Qatar?

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    @ Jon:

    It really would not take long to have that figured out. One can see a lot of bitterness towards Fifa even under the guise of their sudden support for everything brazilian. Laughs

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    I hope Brazil don't give in to FIFA, they have no right to intefere in Brazil's laws like this. It is not like the fans outside watching the games can't drink. Surely being in a stadium during a world cup game is enough to make it a great event without alcohol. Those who cannot enjoy football without alcohol are welcome to watch from pubs outside. FIFA are so arrogant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    Can't WAIT to see how this goes dow when the world cup goes to Qatar.

    If alcohol is that central to a world cup, then a nation that bans it from stadia should not have been chosen as host. For us Northern Europeans, beer before the match is our culture. We do not need bars in stadiums (with only one brand of beer) for that.
    Banning alcohol is in some other cultures. Roll on 2022!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    Post 65. reads
    "At the end of the day, Brazil was fully aware of FIFA's stance on this prior to bidding to host the World Cup
    If they are not prepared to accept their demands, then it should be given to another country - preferably one less crime-riddled."

    Equally so Fifa and more importantly knew Brazils laws

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    I think it's terrible that football and alcohol have become so closely related that FIFA has to interfere with the sovereignty of a government so that football fans don't have to go 90 minutes without a beer. Surely we should be letting Brazil uphold it's own laws and learning from the success or failure that this brings.

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    7 Minutes ago

    Qatari officials have said that the 500,000 soccer fans expected to descend on their country during the World Cup will be allowed to consume alcohol in designated zones.

    Will homosexuality, women's rights and democracy be allowed in designated zones there, too?

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    @Omu-Odua bang on...most of England now hates FIFA anyway due to our loss of the world cup bid.last bid we blamed our bid team...we have to blame someone in this country.anyway a nice chilled larger at a footy game not much to ask for really...

  • 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 221.

    I think FIFA (not to mention Donald Trump..) need to remember that the government makes the law. Not them. Laws aren't there to be changed at the whim of a corporate entity. The Brazilian Government legislate, and FIFA must obey.

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    If FIFA's Mr. Valcke insists that "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", does that mean that there will never be a World Cup finals in Spain for example?
    Spain's anti-violence in sports laws clearly state that no alcohol will be allowed to be sold or consumed at sport venues.

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    To clear up the misconception about Qatar
    Yes you can drink alcohol here in 5* hotels providing you have a non Qatari ID or passport.
    Qatar will (like the Dubai rugby 7s) make a Zone around stadiums where you can buy drink.
    If you're seen to be drunk and disorderly within -or worse outside these zones you WILL go straight to jail and will be deported within 24hrs Them's the rules deal with it!

  • Comment number 218.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 217.

    Just one in a long line of things business makes us do which change our lives. There is a fine for not paying by direct debit. There is a fine for only buying one item. You can get extradited for upsetting US companies. You cannot advertise goods banned by the Olympic sponsors near the venues etc etc. The only difference is that this is a news item concerning beer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    So it does not matter what your product is or whether it has any detrimental effects. Become a sponsor and Fifa will fight for your rights to ride roughshod over religion or country laws

    Money Talks !!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    considering the recent death of Socrates from alcohol related abuse how can FIFA justify its postion,the recent cricket world cup in India had no alcohol,strange for a Brit watching cricket but the tournament was well run and passionately supported.Is it about football or money ,world cup in Quatar ,the answers money!Shameful the beautiful game has been hijacked by the bean counters.


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