FIFA has demanded that Brazil change its laws to allow beer to be sold at the 2012 World Cup.
Brazilian law currently bars alcohol sales at stadia and the health minister Alexandre Padilha is not on board with FIFA’s demand.
Of course, the enjoyment of the fans is not the primary concern of Jerome Valcker, the FIFA General Secretary. US brewer Budweiser is a FIFA sponsor.
FIFA has demanded that Brazil alter their country’s law to accommodate their needs but the alcohol provision has held up the legislation. As a condition of awarding a tournament, FIFA expects several conditions from the host nation, most controversially among them exemption from paying local taxes.
Alcohol has been banned at Brazilian stadia since 2003, to reduce violence between supporters of clubs.
But Valcke is giving no ground, telling Brazilian journalists:
“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.”
Valcke also criticised the pace of other progress to the 2014 facilities during a visit to the country:
“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 “there is not a single stadium ready today.”
The row is though not about the freedom to drink alcohol just beer.
“We’re not talking about alcohol, we’re talking about beer,” Valcke said.
Perhaps a nice compromise might be to allow local Brazilian breweries access to any concession stands inside the stadia. That might be easier to get through their parliament.
Last October, former Brazilian World cup star Romario, now a congressman for Brazil’s Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Brasileiro) spoke out against FIFA’s overbearing list of demands imposed upon the host nation.
Absent from the press conference was Ricardo Teixeira who has been accused in a scandal involving millions of dollars in bribes from World Cup tv broadcast deals. The BBC has claimed that Teixeira and former FIFA President Joao Havelange are among those involved but FIFA postponed publication of documents in December claiming a legal action by one of the parties who was to be named.