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.