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Beer ‘must be sold’ at Brazil World Cup, says Fifa

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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.

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Analysis

Tim Vickery BBC News, Rio de Janeiro

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.

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