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World Cup beer battle brewing between Brazil and FIFA

updated 9:41 AM EST, Fri January 20, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • FIFA and Brazil at loggerheads over the sale of alcohol at 2014 World Cup
  • Legislation banning all alcohol in Brazilian stadiums was passed in 2003
  • Brazil agreed to sell beer in hosting arenas when they were awarded finals
  • Brewers Budweiser are one of FIFA's main sponsors for the 2014 tournament

(CNN) -- FIFA and World Cup host nation Brazil are on a collision course over whether alcohol should be served in stadiums during the 2014 finals.

Legislation passed by the Brazilian government in 2003 prohibits the sale of all alcohol in football arenas.

And with beer company Budweiser one of FIFA's main sponsors for the tournament, this creates a problem for football's world governing body.

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FIFA has been battling for a change in the Brazilian law, with General Secretary Jerome Valcke currently in the South American nation to press for progress on new legislation.

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However, some members of the Brazilian Congress are campaigning for the law to remain the same, a situation which is complicating arrangements for the month-long soccer showpiece.

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The selling of beer in stadiums is part of the fan culture and will also be part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup
FIFA statement

The situation looks set to rumble on, although FIFA sent CNN a statement saying it believes the law will be changed very soon.

"The selling of beer in stadiums is part of the fan culture and will also be part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup," the statement said.

"It is important to note that the sale of alcohol will be limited to beer only as was done at all previous FIFA World Cups.

"We are confident that we will be able to solve the very few open matters and close the chapter of the 2014 Bill by March 2012, so we can then focus on the operational aspects of staging the FIFA Confederations Cup in 18 months from now and then the 2014 FIFA World Cup."

Our goal was to have the bill approved by end of last year, so in terms of law we are not as far ahead as we are in terms of stadiums
Brazilian minister Aldo Rebelo

The statement continued: "At this point let us stress again that our requirements have not changed since 2007 when President Lula signed the government guarantees and are actually the same as we request from any other FIFA World Cup host in past."

Brazilian Minister for Sports Aldo Rebelo echoed FIFA's statement, telling CNN: "The FIFA World Cup bill is a compromise the country committed to when it was bidding for hosting the event.

"It is important to note Brazil asked to host this event and at the time we agreed with all the requirements. Our goal was to have the bill approved by end of last year, so in terms of law we are not as far ahead as we are in terms of stadiums.

"We need to move on and fasten up and I am confident that by March we can complete this."

The delay in changing the alcohol legislation is not the first time Brazil and FIFA have seemingly been at loggerheads since the five-times World Cup winners were awarded the tournament.

The Brazilian government is in dispute with FIFA over the issue of cut-price tickets for senior citizens and students, while FIFA has still not received the assurances it was seeking over sponsors having their trademarks protected.

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