After 11 years of stadium sobriety, FIFA and its sponsor Budweiser celebrated the suspension of Brazil's law against alcohol sales at matches - a bid to stop crowd violence - by pouring thousands of cold ones for fans at last week's opening game in Sao Paulo.
Fans could also buy Bud Zero and local brands Brahma and Brahma Zero, all owned by AB InBev, the world's biggest brewer. Those will be the only alcoholic beverages on sale at matches, thanks to Budweiser's contract to sponsor the World Cup until 2022, a deal estimated to be worth several million dollars a year.
Fans looking for caipirinhas or any other brands of beer will have to find a street vendor - who, in another concession to FIFA, are kept well away from the stadiums.
Last month the German Centre for Addiction Issues, a health lobby group, condemned the lifting of the ban for the World Cup and last year's Confederations Cup warm-up tournament.
"It is a health, political and security scandal," said Raphael Gassmann, the organisation's Director, warning alcohol sales were linked to violence.
"Economic interests must not prevail over the health and security of spectators," he said.
FIFA rejected the group's criticism.
"Budweiser and AB InBev have long been involved in promoting moderate alcohol consumption around the world," said a spokesman.
"They will continue to do so during the World Cup, to ensure that fans have an exceptional experience while enoying beer responsibly," the spokesman said.
Two days before the opening match, the British Medical Journal published a report criticising FIFA's conduct in Brazil and football's links with the booze business.
"Whichever country hoists aloft the trophy on 13 July the real winner will be the alcohol industry," it said.
FIFA "has a long record of championing the financial interests of its commercial partners, including Budweiser, the tournament's official beer partner, by imposing extreme conditions on governments around the world."
These include tax waivers on any profits made by commercial partners during the World Cup and "bullying" the Brazilian government into suspending its stadium alcohol ban, it said.
FIFA said it just wants to put on a good World Cup and sought to highlight the benefits of beer sales.
"Our commercial partners share FIFA's ambition to have a positive influence on health and sport," the spokesman told AFP.
"The revenues from sponsorship operations allow FIFA to put in place football development projects in its 209 member countries, as well as "FIFA 11 for Health'" - a programme to promote football as exercise.
Though it lost the alcohol battle, Brazil did manage to win some small victories in its wrangling with FIFA.
Petitions in host cities Salvador and Recife forced FIFA to cave in and allow stadium sales of two favorite local foods - acaraje, an iconic black-eyed pea fritter, and tapioca, a crepe made with cassava flour.
It's up to fans whether or not to wash them down with a cold Bud.
Source: AFP via I-Net Bridge
For more than two decades, I-Net Bridge has been one of South Africa’s preferred electronic providers of innovative solutions, data of the highest calibre, reliable platforms and excellent supporting systems. Our products include workstations, web applications and data feeds packaged with in-depth news and powerful analytical tools empowering clients to make meaningful decisions.
We pride ourselves on our wide variety of in-house skills, encompassing multiple platforms and applications. These skills enable us to not only function as a first class facility, but also design, implement and support all our client needs at a level that confirms I-Net Bridge a leader in its field.Go to: http://www.inet.co.za