WASTED: Is World Cup drunkenness a problem that needs addressing?

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FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke admitted his shock over the partying going on at World Cup venues in Brazil, saying he was “amazed” by the levels of drunkenness in the host nation’s stadiums.

Whether alcohol sales should be allowed at World Cup matches is not a new debate but nevertheless became a topic of conversation Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro when Valcke admitted to Brazil’s sports television network SporTV that “maybe there was too many people who were drunk” at the matches.

Given Brazil’s history with alcohol bans, it’s a topic worth examining. In 2003, Brazil banned alcohol sales at soccer matches in an attempt to cut down on fan violence. That law changed, however, when Budweiser signed on as a major sponsor of this summer’s World Cup.

It was a move that compelled comedian John Oliver to go off in his now famous (and hilarious) World Cup rant:

“The amazing thing is here FIFA won. They successfully pressured Brazil into passing a so-called Budweiser bill, allowing beer sales in soccer stadiums,” Oliver said June 8th on his HBO show Last Week Tonight. “And at this point you can either be horrified by that or relieved that FIFA was not also sponsored by cocaine and chainsaws.”

FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fisher thereafter set the record clear, noting, “there is no Budweiser bill” because Brahma, owned by Belgian-Brazilian company Anheuser-Busch InBev, is also sold during matches.

Either way, the booze sponsors won and in all likelihood, will continue to do so if Valcke’s comments from January 2012 are anything to go by. “Alcoholic drinks are part of the FIFA World Cup, so we’re going to have them,” he said. “Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant, but that’s something we won’t negotiate.”

Cheers to that.

 

LAFC selects Urena, 4 others in MLS Expansion Draft

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Los Angeles FC selected five players in the MLS Expansion Draft, including Costa Rican national team star Marco Urena.

Whether they’ll make their way to the City of Angels is another story.

The first pick from general manager John Thorrington was goalkeeper Tyler Miller from Seattle Sounders.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Going next was Latif Blessing from Sporting KC, an electric attacker who netted thrice with an assist last season.

Next was Urena from San Jose and the Costa Rican national team, a huge addition, and then Columbus left back Jukka Raitala before closing up the draft with Raheem Edwards from Toronto FC.

LAFC has already announced the signings or acquisitions of Carlos Vela, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Alvarez, Monday Etim, and Guillermo Vizcarra.

The club will also loan Omar Gaber from Basel and Rodrigo Pacheco from Lanus.

WATCH LIVE: Three Premier League matches

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Chelsea visits the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town in one of three Premier League fixtures this chilly Tuesday in December (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Blues are now 14 points back of Manchester City, and three points clear of fifth place.

Meanwhile there are a pair of matches on NBC Sports Gold: Burnley looks to keep pace with its Top Four ambitions when it hosts struggling Stoke City, while in-form Crystal Palace seeks a home win that would move it out of the drop zone. In its way? Dangerous, attack-minded Watford.

Burnley vs. Stoke City — 2:45 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Crystal Palace vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

FIFA bans Colombia midfielder Cardona 5 games for gesture

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has banned Colombia midfielder Edwin Cardona for five matches for making a discriminatory gesture with his eyes toward a South Korean opponent.

FIFA will allow Cardona to serve the ban in friendly games, so he should be available for Colombia’s World Cup opener against Japan on June 19.

[ MORE: Pep on post-derby celebrations ]

Cardona has also been fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,150) because of the incident last month in a friendly in Seoul.

Cardona apologized at the time, saying he “didn’t mean to disrespect anyone, a country or a race, but if anyone felt offended, or interpreted it in that way, I am sorry.”

Spurs’ Alderweireld won’t return until February

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Spurs finally got a bit of good news this weekend with a blowout of Stoke City.

That was a followed by a tough draw against Juventus in the UEFA Champions League, and bad news on an old injury.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Center back Toby Alderweireld is going to be gone into February, extending his time on the sidelines with a hamstring injury suffered Nov. 1 against Real Madrid.

Spurs were 6-2-2 in league when Alderweireld went down, and are just 2-2-2 since the injury. The Belgian has missed losses at Arsenal and Leicester, draws against Watford and West Brom, and wins over Crystal Palace and Stoke.

Tottenham did win both of its UCL matches since the injury.