FIFA head says fans ‘will survive’ without beer at World Cup
The head of the football federation is predicting that the fans will survive without the traditional beer at the World Cup.
The World Cup in Russia is set to be the first World Cup to omit beer. FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter, told a meeting of world football’s governing body on Wednesday that his country cannot afford to host a tournament without the beverage.
“We can’t afford to have a tournament without beer, and here we are drinking it for two months,” Blatter told delegates.
He said that his country had considered making the change a couple of years ago, and that the FIFA Congress had finally accepted the idea. While Blatter acknowledged the obvious economic drawbacks to eliminating beer at the World Cup, he maintained that the decision would not have any real effect on the tournament.
“It’s not a question of money,” he argued.
This is the most significant change to the World Cup for some time. It is not an attempt to exclude Muslims from watching the tournament on television, but is a way for World Cup organisers to make the tournament more attractive to all nationalities. It is hoped that other countries will follow suit, in part as a protest against the growing commercialism of football but also because a reduction in the number of alcoholic drinks consumed could be a major boost to health.
On Wednesday, the World Cup also lost the drink of choice to the fans – from the traditional beer to water. The World Cup organisers are now hoping to offer a variety of other non-alcoholic beverages to the fans, including coffee, tea and energy drinks – a move which is a move in the right direction.
Dr Blatter said that the drinks available to fans would be “as per national conditions” in the host country as well as in the other participating countries.
The change to the World Cup would also come in to effect from next year. The FIFA Congress voted in 2006 to admit Brazil as World Cup