Top FIFA Official “Amazed” by How Wasted World Cup Fans Are Getting

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Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 3 2014 9:34 AM

Top FIFA Official “Amazed” by How Wasted World Cup Fans Are Getting

451036968-belgiums-fan-drinks-beer-as-he-waits-for-the-start-of
A World Cup fan surely drinking the appropriate amount.

Photo by Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Beer vendors are apparently making a killing at this year’s World Cup. The levels of drinking while cheering in the stadiums have even caught FIFA by surprise. This week, FIFA No. 2 Jerome Valcke told a Brazilian TV station: "I was amazed by the number of people who were drunken and the level of alcohol… I was a bit surprised." He added: "Maybe there were too many people who were drunk."

Fan drunkenness at this year's Cup—to a certain extent—is a problem of FIFA’s own creation, as alcohol sales have been banned at Brazilian soccer matches since 2003 to try to keep fans from pummeling one another. “But Budweiser is a major World Cup sponsor and the tournament's organizer, FIFA, insisted Brazil lift the ban in order to host the month-long event,” the Associated Press reports. “During the protracted debate over the legislation, Valcke stated in 2012 that in-stadium beer sales were a key part of World Cup tradition and that lifting Brazil's ban was non-negotiable.”

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This week, however, Valcke seemed to be reconsidering the indispensability of the event’s beer-chugging tradition, saying it’s “something we have to look at.” “Valcke stressed that in-stadium beer sales have never been a problem in previous World Cups,” according to the AP.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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