Sale of beer with alcohol banned at World Cup stadiums
World Cup stadiums are starting to look less a fortress than a theme park for World Cup fever. Some have even made noise about loosening alcohol restrictions.
By Mark Doyle
Last updated at 14:12 12 February 2005
A World Cup beer tasting at a pub in Manchester.
In recent years, a number of stadiums around the rugby-playing world have taken steps to become less of a fortress. They have loosened security, permitted beer tasting, and even allowed smoking. Even more have joined in, and one is now taking it a step farther: by opening its gates to beer.
Manchester’s Etihad Stadium has agreed to sell alcohol at the World Cup, even if that means it will have to move a little less fast to do so. The Etihad is one of a number of major football stadia around the world that will host international matches, such as the Euro 2004 finals.
The idea is to make the venues more palatable, by making them less intimidating than the high-security “no alcohol” zones that are the “World Cup security zone” outside the World Cup stadiums.
The stadium will take 20 per cent from the sale of alcohol, and will use money raised from that sale to fund improvements to the stadium like making it more environmentally friendly.
“Obviously, our ambition is to make this event a success,” said Mike Rudd, Etihad’s chief operating officer. “And we believe we’re in a position now to meet our objectives.”
It has opened the alcohol policy to public consultation, allowing its beer fans to voice their opinions on the issue.
The World Cup has grown into more than a sporting event. It has become a global phenomenon: about a third of a billion people are said to have watched the first four weeks of this year’s World Cup matches. And they want to drink.
The Etihad’s decision is not about how beer is consumed at the stadium. It is about how World Cup beer is consumed out loud, and to those who want to buy and consume it.
“We want to make this an accessible stadium for those who want to drink and for those who want to experience something different,” Rudd said.