Brazil banned alcohol sales at its soccer stadiums in 2003 to cut down on fan violence, but FIFA insisted that the country lift the ban for the World Cup (side note: Budweiser is a major World Cup sponsor). Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s second-in-command, said in 2012 “that in-stadium beer sales were a key part of World Cup tradition and that lifting Brazil’s ban was non-negotiable,” according to the Associated Press.
Now, in the wake of an apparent wave of drunkenness at the World Cup, Valcke is changing his tune, saying he’s “amazed” by the levels of drunkenness at the stadiums. Here’s the Associated Press:
In an interview with Brazil’s sports television network SporTV, Jerome Valcke acknowledged Tuesday that “maybe there were too many people who were drunk” at the matches and pointed to the connection between inebriation and violence. …
In Monday’s SporTV interview, Valcke appeared to soften his position, saying alcohol sales are “something we have to look at.”
“If we think that it is necessary to control (alcohol sales) we will control them,” said Valcke, who spoke in English through a Portuguese translator. “We would never put the organization of a match at risk.”
Fan violence has broken out at several matches here, including Saturday’s Colombia-Uruguay match in Rio de Janeiro, where stewards had to intervene to separate hostile spectators. Following the match, apparently inebriated Argentine fans celebrating their team’s victory over Iran on June 21 caused a dust-up in the central Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte.
Valcke stressed that in-stadium beer sales have never been a problem in previous World Cups.
“I was amazed by the number of people who were drunken and the level of alcohol” in Brazil, he said, adding “I was a bit surprised.”
The issue will come up again in 2022, provided FIFA doesn’t take that year’s World Cup away from Qatar, where alcohol consumption is legal but strictly regulated. Qatari officials have said that alcohol will be allowed in “fan zones.”
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