FIFA, which is the word’s governing body of soccer, has been accused throughout the years to be nothing more than a corrupt organization which uses bullying tactics and threats to get its way. The latest FIFA controversy involves the upcoming World Cup tournament in Brazil in 2014.
There will be 12 separate stadiums that are to be newly built or refurbished for the event and FIFA is insisting that they all have to sell beer. The problem is, the country of Brazil doesn’t allow alcohol to be sold at soccer games due to past instances of serious crowd trouble.
Jerome Valcke, general secretary of FIFA, said that all stadiums will be forced to sell beer and that’s the end of the discussion. However, politicians in Brazil still haven’t voted on a bill that deals with FIFA’s World Cup Law due to the differences they have between themselves and FIFA. The politicians were to vote on the bill at the end of 2011, but they still haven’t done it as they say there are a few issues they’re not happy with.
The most important one is the beer issue though. FIFA said beer must be sold to protection its sponsors’ trademarks, whatever that means. Valcke said that beer is going to be sold because it’s an important part of the FIFA’s World Cup and it’s not negotiable. He added that he may sound arrogant in saying so, but there’s no option when it comes to the matter.
Valcke told Brazilian media that the right to sell beer needs to be a part of the FIFA World Cup Law. But this isn’t going over too well with some people in Brazil because alcoholic drinks have been banned in soccer stadiums there since 2003. This was made law in something called the Supporters’ Statutes. The country’s health minister and other politicians have urged the government not to back down to FIFA and to put people’s safety ahead of monetary gains.
FIFA of course, want to rake in every penny they can get. However, they don’t really have much of a choice here. Brazil seems to have the soccer bullies over a barrel because it’s highly unlikely the soccer organization could find a new host country in time for the tournament. It may find a nation such as Germany or England with all of the stadiums in place, but the logistics planning and everything else takes a couple of years to plan properly.
FIFA also has a problem with the Brazilian government because the nation offers soccer tickets for half price to senior citizens and students. Again, FIFA sees this as money flying out the window and wants the practice halted for the World Cup. Valcke said FIFA is willing to print up a total of 300,000 tickets in a special pricing category that can then be sold for $25 apiece. He added that these need to be strictly controlled though to make sure that non-students and non-seniors can’t buy them.
He feels it won’t be fair of people who can afford full-price tickets are getting them for $25. He’s apparently worried about it because student ID cards are easy to obtain in Brazil. It’s believed that Brazilian congress will vote on the matter in March.