Set football free

Fifa, football’s world governing body, keeps insisting that alcohol must be sold at all venues hosting matches in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Fifa even speaks of a right to sell beer. But alcohol is currently banned from Brazilian stadiums as part of measures to reduce violence in football and to improve public health in general. The country’s health minister has urged the parliament to maintain the ban in the new “World Cup law”.

But Fifa is not willing to accept these arguments and Secretary-General Jerome Valcke says: “Alcoholic drinks are part of the Fifa World Cup, so we’re going to have them. Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that’s something we won’t negotiate.”

I say on behalf of IOGT International: No, we do not excuse your arrogance, and we cannot accept that Fifa is willing to jeopardize the fun of the game, the safety of children and families and the positive social development in Brazilian society.

We suggest Fifa to take a good, hard look at its own Corporate Social Responsibility because words should be followed by deeds.

Fifa writes on its webpage: “Ensuring that the game of football reflects the highest values of society is essential to Fifa. Through its regulations and actions on and off the pitch, Fifa fights negative influences on the game and ensures that the fundamental values are respected.”

A WHO study carried out in (among others) Brazil, showed that about 46% of violence-related cases included alcohol use. The study also demonstrated that violence related injuries increase with alcohol use.

Global evidence shows that alcohol marketing, like sports sponsorship, causes earlier onset of alcohol use among youth and heavier alcohol use for those already consuming.

All over the world, alcohol is an obstacle for development and human dignity. It is the socially the most harmful drug.

That’s why IOGT International strongly supports the Brazilian Health Minister and calls on the Brazilian Parliament to keep football stadiums free from alcohol.

Football is about creativity and freedom. Alcohol is not. So, why does Fifa force them together and knowingly accept that people will suffer? For the profit? We demand from Fifa to take its own words seriously and put people before profit. Let’s set football free.

For more reading:

Our press release in PDF version

Research about alcohol marketing from North America and Europe

Alcohol and Public Health in Developing Countries – Country Profile Brazil 1999 and more WHO studies ever since

WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2011

Country profile Brazil, 2011: Alcohol and Helath, alcohol policy, patterns of alcohol use, health consequences

Fifa “ethics” #1: Criticism of appointment of Valcke as Fifa Secretary-General

Fifa “ethics” #2: Timeline of corruption and bribery allegations

Alcohl and youth violence

Alcohol harm in environments of alcohol use