People are Getting Blitzed at the World Cup, to No One’s Surprise But FIFA’s

A Belgium's fan drinks beer as he waits for the start of the Group H football match between Belgium and Russia at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 22, 2014. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAUMARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images
A Belgian fan drinks beer as he waits for the start of the Group H match between Belgium and Russia.
AFP/Getty Images

Fans are using a six-week long summer vacation in a country known for over-proof spirits and ice-cold beer as an excuse to get drunk, a shocked FIFA official discovered Monday.

Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s No. 2 official, told Brazil’s sports television network, SporTV, that he was shocked at how much fans were drinking at the World Cup. From the AP:

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“I was amazed by the number of people who were drunken and the level of alcohol” said Valcke. “I was a bit surprised.”

Beer was banned from soccer matches in Brazil in 2003 as an attempt to curb rowdy fan behavior. Budweiser, a major sponsor of this year’s World Cup, insisted on the country lifting the ban for the tournament. Fan violence has marred several matches, including Saturday’s match between Colombia and Uruguay.

While in-stadium beer sales are part of a longstanding FIFA tradition, Valcke said fan safety was most important.

“If we think that it is necessary to control (alcohol sales) we will control them,” said Valcke. “We would never put the organization of a match at risk.”