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.
Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.
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Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.
Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:
“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”
That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”
[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]
There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?
Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?
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I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.
Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.
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Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:
“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.
“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.
“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”
Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.
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The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.