FIFA World Cup Sponsors: Budweiser Partnership Changing Alcohol Bans in Brazil, Russia 2018, Qatar 2022
Soccer fans can be passionate, particularly across Latin America. Unfortunately, that passion sometimes escalates to violence and death. In 2003, Brazil outlawed the sales of alcoholic beverages in soccer stadiums. For FIFA, the alcohol sales ban hindered one of the organization's major sponsors: Budweiser.
FIFA demanded the Brazilian law be changed for the 2014 World Cup, and Brazil followed instructions.
"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," said FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke in January 2012. "The fact that we have the right to sell beer has to be a part of the law."
A few months later, the Brazilian Congress voted for alcoholic beverage sales to resume in soccer stadiums. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff signed the bill, nicknamed the "Budweiser Bill," into law in June.
According to FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fisher, there is no "Budweiser bill." Fisher did state one requirement for World Cup hosts is the ability to sell beer. The bill did not explicitly allow the sales of beer in stadiums but simply lifted the ban during the monthlong tournament.
Budweiser has been the World Cup's "official beer" since 1986. The partnership was extended through 2022. If FIFA thought their beer troubles were over, then the next two World Cup tournaments will provide more headaches. The 2018 and 2022 games will be held in Russia and Qatar respectively, and both have alcohol sales bans in stadiums.
Politicians in Moscow have moved to accede to FIFA's demands. The Russian Sports Ministry drafted legislation that would grant FIFA exclusive rights to advertise and sell alcoholic beverages in and around stadiums during the 2018 World Cup.
The Duma, the Russian equivalent to the U.S. Congress, could enter intense debate about the drafted legislation. Duma's Economic Policy Committee deputy head Viktor Zvagelsky said the legislation could create problems with alcohol manufacturers not associated with FIFA.
"If you make exceptions for those who cooperate with the organizers of the World Cup, then you have unfair competition," said Zvagelsky, via The Moscow Times.
According to the Voice of Russia, the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi featured an alcohol sales ban.
"It's going to be very interesting to see what happens when Russia stages a World Cup. Is it going to give in to FIFA's demands? I can tell you that public health officials around the world have their fingers crossed that Russia will stand firm and defy FIFA, which — frankly — is acting like a sovereign state and bullying nations around the world," said BMJ's Jonathan Gurnall.
Qatar, an Islamic state, has strict policies against alcohol. FIFA wants Qatar to meet its requirements for advertising and sales of beer. Hassan Abdulla Al Thawadi, chief executive of the Qatar 2022 bid, said the country is taking a "flexible approach" to alcohol sales in special locations known as "fan zones." Al Thawadi, however, has stated he doesn't see the need for alcoholic beverages in stadiums.
For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: email@example.com.
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!