FIFA head says fans ‘will survive’ without beer at World Cup
In their final press conference before Brazil kicks off the World Cup on June 12, head of the International Football Association Board (FIFA) Gianni Infantino and FIFA vice-president Mike Riley agreed that supporters would be spared this year’s World Cup without alcohol.
“I’m not an expert in alcohol but, on the one hand,” Riley said about whether fans would come to Brazil without alcohol, “they’ll probably come and enjoy that, drink alcohol in the way that they would have before the World Cup; not excessively, but I think they’ll survive.”
Riley reiterated the same sentiment to ESPN Brasil in February when asked specifically whether the tournament would be without alcohol.
“Certainly, no, but [the fans] will have a bit more patience. I don’t think it will be a huge problem,” he said.
And FIFA’s stance on alcohol? “I don’t think it will be a problem.”
And, Riley added on the same day, “We’re very interested in this question. We are not going to announce anything at this point. We do think alcohol will not be allowed on the terraces but this is just an indication.”
This isn’t the first time that questions about alcohol have been thrown in the World Cup discussion, either.
Since 2012, beer has been permitted in stadiums (though not on the terraces) on the eve of every knockout round between the group phase of World Cup qualifying and the final, or the day of the final itself. The other two rounds, the play-offs and the final itself, do not allow alcohol.
The rule change was instituted amid concerns about fan behavior in the weeks leading up to the tournament. After Brazil failed to win either of its first two matches, several fans poured red wine onto the field, and then, during the final match between Germany and Italy, a wave of fans stormed to the field and began pouring their own red wine onto the field.
However, the decision to allow alcohol in the stadium didn