A bit of odd news out of Brazil as published in The Sydney Morning Herald as that nation prepares to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014:
''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,'' Valcke said on Thursday at the end of a visit to Brazil to meet the organising committee. He added that FIFA had repeatedly made it clear it wanted authorisation for beer sales in the stadiums, and stressed that Brazil was warned of that when it was chosen to host the 2014 World Cup. FIFA has an agreement with its sponsor, the US-based Anheuser-Busch brand Budweiser, and prohibiting beer sales would cut into the football organisation's revenues from the games. The sale of alcoholic drinks in sports arenas has been banned in Brazil since 2003, but a bill now making its way through Congress would create an exception, allowing beer to be sold in plastic cups at World Cup matches.
I know we are all supposed to be all "hooray for booze in every context" when we beer blog. The pressure to conform is heavy - as you no doubt have noted. But isn't there something quite disturbing about beer being foisted - nay, forced - upon a people who have decided that beer in a sporting event is not appropriate? It would be comforting I suppose to pretend that FIFA cares about the thirst of dipsomaniac soccer fans but of course they are going to get a cut of stadium sales but not sales in private establishments before or after the matches. Having attended enough league matches in Scotland in the 70s and 80s when the ban on booze was skirted by those later arrested fans who duct taping bottles of cheap sherry to their legs under wide leg jeans (quite the thing for a teen to witness) I am aware of the reasons for keeping booze out of the stadiums.
So FIFA is lining up on the side of lining its own pockets at the risk of public safety. Odd to see the makers of Bud still called "US-based" however. Surely, that Brazilian based brewer is lobbying its own as hard as FIFA. Rioters are, after all, good paying clients.