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Friday, May 11, 2012

Brazil Senate Passes World Cup Bill, Lifts Ban on Beer Sales

Brazil’s Senate yesterday approved a set of rules needed for the country to host the 2014 soccer World Cup, including the lifting of a federal ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks in stadiums during the tournament.
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI), the world’s largest brewer, extended in October its beer sponsorship for the FIFA World Cup through 2022. The legislation now needs to be signed by President Dilma Rousseff.
Brazil currently bans consumption of alcoholic beverages at sporting events held in stadiums because of concern it fuels violence. Five of the 12 Brazilian states that will host World Cup games still have local laws that prohibit sales of alcohol in stadiums and may have to suspend them, Senator Ana Amelia de Lemos, a member of the government coalition and one of the sponsors of the bill, told reporters in Brasilia yesterday.
“This could end in court as some states can still forbid beverages,” Lemos said. “If you don’t allow beverages, an international agreement is broken, creating legal uncertainty that undermines Brazil’s image.”
Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo and the chairman of the country’s soccer confederation Jose Maria Marin met FIFA President Sepp Blatter in Zurich on May 8 to discuss the project. FIFA said Brazil has made “significant progress” on preparing stadiums for the tournament.
Relations between FIFA, which is world soccer’s governing body, and the Brazilian government became strained after the country delayed approving the bill. Brazil committed to enact the legislation when it was awarded the $5 billion event almost five years ago. FIFA also complained earlier this year about slow progress in building stadiums.
“Though analyses are still being carried out, several obstacles have already been identified in some cities,” FIFA said in a May 8 statement on its website. “These points will be discussed with the relevant authorities with a view to identifying solutions. The monitoring process, which is being conducted with the support of an international consultancy firm, will also continue.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Maria Luiza Rabello in Brasilia Newsroom
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman