FIFA To 2014 World Cup Host Brazil: Let There Be Beer

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FIFA and Budweiser are lobbying hard for Brazil to loosen its beer regulations ahead of the 2014 Soccer World Cup. Under normal circumstances, the country’s soccer stadiums don’t sell beer. A bill pending approval by Congress could change that.

As host to the 2014 World Cup, soccer-crazy Brazil is promising to put on a great show. Ticket holders can expect warm weather, a festive atmosphere, incredible soccer and probably a bit of samba to boot. But for now, at least, there’s only thing Brazil can’t guarantee: beer. For health and safety reasons, Brazilian stadiums don’t sell it.

Thanks to FIFA, however, the country may make an exception for the World Cup. The governing body of international soccer has been pressuring Brazilian authorities to draft a bill allowing the sale of alcohol at World Cup matches. The bill is likely to pass Brazil’s lower house, but will still need approval from the country’s Senate.

While FIFA’s pro-beer stance may be appreciated by many soccer fans, it is ruffling feathers among some Brazilian politicians, including the country’s health minister, who insists Rio de Janeiro’s Maraca?a stadium and the other 11 World Cup venues should stay dry.

Even if the bill is eventually approved, however, fans shouldn’t expect a wide variety of beer choices. The options will be restricted to those produced by the official sponsor – Budweiser – which plans to keep things simple. Fans can make it a Bud, or a Bud Lite. At stake, as usual, is money. Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI), the world’s biggest brewer and owner of the Budweiser brand, is one of FIFA’s most important sponsors.