Brazil must have booze at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. But what about Qatar 2022?

FIFA’s general secretary, Jerome Valcke, paid a visit to Brazil where he made clear the football authority’s position: “Alcoholic drinks are a 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 that we won’t negotiate.”

His comments could well be taken as inflammatory, if not just arrogant, since Brazil has held a policy of prohibition at football stadiums since 2003 in an effort to reduce violence. The fact that Budweiser is a long-term sponsor of FIFA has no doubt some small bearing on this decision-making.

While alcohol can currently be consumed legally in Qatar, there are restrictions. Alcohol can be purchased in a few clubs, bars, certain hotel restaurants; however, to consume alcohol in one’s own home a special license is required. The question of whether the consumption of alcohol will be permitted to in additional areas and at the games themselves has been asked. Hassan Abdulla al Thawadi, chief executive of the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid, has said the Muslim state would also permit alcohol consumption during the World Cup. A few specific fan-zones will be set up during the event, they will provide alcohol for sale.

If FIFA are willing to negotiate a few specific fan zones with Qatar, why is there no negotiation in Brazil? It is difficult to believe that any of these decisions were made outside of the bribery and corruption that seem endemic to FIFA. Jerome Valcke was accused in 2011 of letting slip that Qatar ‘bought’ its place as host in 2022, so perhaps Brazil should have bought their right to host the World Cup at a higher price and saved themselves some trouble.


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Exodus from Babylon’s organised piss up on every high street

Alcohol Inquiry

The recently published Alcohol Inquiry by The House of Commons Health Committee criticises the power and political influence of the alcohol industry and its lobbyists and their role in creating and profiting from a binge drinking (youth) culture.

Our documentary Exodus from Babylon (1997) details how the alcohol industry feeling under threat from the teetotal rave culture that was emptying pubs used its power and influence at national and local level to demonise and criminalise the free rave movement, to expand into club ownership, and to promote drink as a cheap legal psychoactive high.

All of the few, but very highly publicised, rave related deaths occurred not in the free “illegal” raves but in the commercially run venues where a bottle of water cost up to £3.00 and, to ensure market monopoly, the cold water taps in the toilets were switched off.

Once the free rave movement had been destroyed the alcohol industry successfully lobbied for more lax premises licences, longer drinking hours and produced cheaper and more youth targeted alcohol such as alcopops. Soon banks and cinemas on UK high streets were converted into bars and clubs and the excessive drinking culture of the predominantly young clientele became a major public order and health problem.

The media is happy to blame the victims, the young, but this binge culture is not cultural or “natural” it is about profit. Sales ‘would fall by 40%’ if we all drank responsibly. The drinks industry thrives and survives on binge drinking, it spent £800million on marketing alcohol while the  Government spent £17.6million on alcohol awareness in 2009/10.

The drinks industry exerts power via its lobbyist such as the Westminster Beer Club the Portman Group:
“The drinks industry can depend on harmful drinkers because it has more power over Government policies than health experts”  the MPs added.

The drinks industry, meanwhile, hit back. Simon Litherland of Diageo GB, which produces Guinness, Bell’s whisky and Smirnoff vodka, said he was ‘extremely disappointed by the committee’s divisive approach’.

For information on Exodus from Babylon (1997) and how to purchase the film visit Spectacle’s Catalogue

For other Exodus material

The Causes of Poverty

Conservative Party Leader David Cameron has said:

“We have to think about the causes of poverty.  We have to disaggregate the problem – to look at the various types of poverty that exist, and the factors that contribute to them.

Because for most people, material poverty is a consequence of other factors. Family breakdown, drug and alcohol addiction, unemployment, poor education…”

Do you agree with these factors being the key reasons behind poverty?  Have you a personal experience of these factors?