But along with the stadium construction, public transportation development and safety concerns facing all three nations, FIFA is adding legislative demands to the list.
Both Brazil and Russia have outlawed the sale of alcohol at sporting events in recent years due to crowd control issues, stemming from riots and violence. But FIFA doesn’t seem to think too highly of those restrictions, and when it comes to the World Cup, FIFA is king.
“Alcoholic drinks are part of the FIFA World Cup, so we’re going to have them,” FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said this week. “Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that’s something we won’t negotiate.”
As noted in a report from the Irish Times, Brazil banned alcohol sales in stadiums in 2003 as part of the Supporters’ Statutes, which were designed to reduce fan violence during contests.
Valcke also hammered the 2014 host nation for its lagging stadium construction during a joint news conference in Rio de Janeiro, saying, “there is not a single stadium ready today.”
But back to the beer...
Russia, which is set to host the 2018 Cup, may already be bracing for FIFA’s open-tap demands. During a Thursday meeting with FIFA President Sepp Blatter that commemorated the 100th birthday of the Russian soccer federation, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he will reconsider the country’s sports stadium beer ban.
The ever-shrewd Blatter noted that “Beer is like a part of life. Can you imagine holding a championship in Germany without beer?”
The beer ban is not the only local stadium policy FIFA is hoping to quash in Brazil. The country’s half-price ticket policy for senior citizens and students was is also on FIFA’s agenda.
“It’s unfair if a person who can afford a category one (full-price) ticket buys a category four (discounted) ticket,” Valcke said. “We must guarantee this won’t happen because apparently it’s very easy to obtain a student card here.”
It’ll be interesting to see how FIFA plans to get around Qatar’s nationwide alcohol sales and consumption restrictions. But they have 10 years to figure that out.
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