World Cup co-hosts split over beer sales in stadiums


TOKYO, AFP

The Japanese and South Korean organizers of the 2002 World Cup finals have found another thing to disagree about — whether fans will be able to buy beer in stadiums. Football’s world governing body FIFA has indicated that it wants beer to be available at all matches and US brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser, is one of the 11 worldwide sponsors of next year’s finals. That’s fine with South Korea but Japan has reservations. “We are worried from a standpoint of security,” Yasuhiko Endoh, the general secretary of the Japanese organising committee (JAWOC) told a news conference here. “At present, we are rather negative and still studying the proposal.” Chung Mong-Joon, the co-chairman of the Korean committee (KOWOC) and a FIFA vice-president, said a “tentative decision” had been made to allow the sale of beer in plastic cups but not in glass bottles. A glass of cold beer could help calm down overexcited fans, Chun told the same news conference. “I understand that in many sports stadiums, for example in the United States, they allow this kind of sale of beer in plastic glasses,” he said. FIFA president Sepp Blatter diplomatically stressed that sales of alcoholic beverages should follow local rules and regulations but did point out that a beer company was a major sponsor. “I don’t know how it will be handled in Japan,” he admitted. The different approaches over the beer issue is the latest in a series of disputes between the first joint hosts of a World Cup. In March, FIFA had to intervene to block a bid by the Tokyo organisers to put Japan’s name before Korea on publicity material inside Japan, rather than using the official title — World Cup 2002 Korea-Japan.