By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Those fans who want to drink a cold beer while watching their favorite football (soccer) team play in one of Rio de Janeiro’s stadiums will now be able to thank the new bill approved at Rio’s legislative assembly on Wednesday authorizing the sale of beer at stadiums.
Beer and other alcoholic beverages have been prohibited from being sold inside stadiums since 2008 after an agreement was made between the federal prosecutor’s office and CBF (Brazilian Football Confederation) with the objective of curbing fan violence during games.
“We have to stop with the hypocrisy,” said Representative Wanderson Nogueira, one of the authors of the bill during the voting session on Wednesday.
“Around the stadiums there is (illegal) sale and consumption of beer and fans may enter the arena already drunk. During the World Cup which took place in our country and beer was sold there was no significant (violence) factor pegged to the sale of beer.” According to Nogueira the losers with the prohibition of beer sale at stadiums are the football clubs, which are facing economic crisis and are not getting these revenues.
During the 2014 World Cup one of the requirements imposed on the country by FIFA was that beer was sold in all stadiums holding the Games. No major incident of violence where alcohol was a major contributing factor was reported during the month-long event.
Rio de Janeiro’s governor, Luiz Fernando Pezão will now have fifteen days to sanction or veto the bill. If the bill is sanctioned beer will be sold in plastic cups inside the stadium throughout the game. Educational messages about alcohol consumption will also have to be transmitted at the events. The bill, however, does not mention the authorization for beer to be sold outside the stadium.