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FIFA official 'amazed' by World Cup's drunkenness

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - FIFA's number two official has said he's "amazed" by the levels of drunkenness in Brazil's World Cup stadiums, reviving a debate over whether alcohol sales should have been allowed at matches in the first place.

In an interview with Brazil's sports television network SporTV, Jerome Valcke acknowledged Monday that "maybe there were too many people who were drunk" at the matches and pointed to the connection between inebriation and violence.

Brazil banned alcohol sales at soccer matches in 2003 in a bid to curb fan violence. But Budweiser is a major World Cup sponsor and the tournament's organizer, FIFA, insisted Brazil lift the ban in order to host the month-long event. Lawmakers opposed to lifting the ban delayed the passage of a World Cup law that gave FIFA financial and legal guarantees to organize the event, and the issue became a major source of friction between FIFA and Brazilian officials.

During the protracted debate over the legislation, Valcke stated in 2012 that in-stadium beer sales were a key part of World Cup tradition and that lifting Brazil's ban was non-negotiable.

In Monday's SporTV interview, Valcke appeared to soften his position, saying alcohol sales are "something we have to look at."

"If we think that it is necessary to control (alcohol sales) we will control them," said Valcke, who spoke in English through a Portuguese translator. "We would never put the organization of a match at risk."

Fan violence has broken out at several matches here, including Saturday's Colombia-Uruguay match in Rio de Janeiro, where stewards had to intervene to separate hostile spectators. Following the match, apparently inebriated Argentine fans celebrating their team's victory over Iran on June 21 caused a dust-up in the central Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte.

Valcke stressed that in-stadium beer sales have never been a problem in previous World Cups.

"I was amazed by the number of people who were drunken and the level of alcohol" in Brazil, he said, adding "I was a bit surprised."

The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to be held in Qatar, a Gulf state where alcohol consumption in public is forbidden.

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donstillings July 02 2014 at 1:46 PM

A bunch of rowdy drunks watching a dozen guys struggle to score for an hour. Sounds like any night at a bar.

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1 reply
onalaska donstillings July 02 2014 at 2:19 PM

I'm sorry but that's funny!

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1 reply
dboiani onalaska July 03 2014 at 11:39 AM

don't apologize .. it was DAMN funny!

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normandyv July 02 2014 at 3:28 PM

The FIFA official was also amazed the sky is blue.

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bba007 July 02 2014 at 2:55 PM

Maybe at the next world cup they can dispense with the alcohol and start selling weed. Everyone would be more mellow.

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2 replies
Judith bba007 July 02 2014 at 11:04 PM

Then there would be people attacking the food vendors!!

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zuluwarrior225 bba007 July 03 2014 at 6:44 AM

Fair enough! Weed, munchies, mellow crowds.... What's not to like???

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Pope John July 02 2014 at 5:55 PM

Soccer is a low class game for low class people. That's why it's so popular.

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5 replies
lilleybugglane July 02 2014 at 5:00 PM

There is NOTHING more annoying than paying GOOD $$$$ for GOOD seats at an event (sporting) and then having to tolerate sloppy drunks who you have to end up passing their beers to when the vendor comes around... we went to a MLB game with our kids... again... spend GOOD $$$ for GOOD seats and wouldn't you know there was a lush sitting 4 seats down... he was buying 5 beers at a time from the vendor... at one point he had at least a dozen beers at his feet... it was GROSS...

If stadiums want to sell beer.. they should do it BEFORE the game starts and stop once the game starts... OR... not allow alcohol in the seating areas...

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2 replies
philcva63 lilleybugglane July 02 2014 at 5:22 PM

You are so right! If it's not drunks at sporting events, it's babblers in movie theaters. My TV does not drink or babble and is at my becken call- much more enjoyable. Thank God they don't allow drinking at youth functions.

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kindamara lilleybugglane July 03 2014 at 11:49 AM

I love it when at hockey games, people who have seats "on the glass" put their drinks on the glass ledge. Players can see the cups and will aim for them! It's poetic justice when the front row attendee gets the drink dumped on them!

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minutemaus July 02 2014 at 2:56 PM

He's kidding, right?

In other news . . .

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bdgrizcp July 02 2014 at 6:44 PM

Can you imagine how boring soccer would be without booze? At least as boring as jai-alai without betting.

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deuces59james July 02 2014 at 6:10 PM

nothing much happens, might as well get drunk and raise hell. by the time the first goal is scored, half the crowd is plastered.

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kitcumbie July 03 2014 at 8:58 AM

FIFA officials must be complete idiots.

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Rob July 02 2014 at 5:33 PM

Guess he's never been to the bleachers at Yankee Stadium. LOL

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