Brazil government shrugs off FIFA concerns over 2014 World Cup preparations, particularly the selling of alcohol at venues.
21 Jan 2012 - 11:10 AM  UPDATED 6 Nov 2012 - 6:05 PM

He was responding to criticism from FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke about delays in securing congressional approval of a bill on the World Cup.

FIFA has also expressed concern about the current ban on beer sales in Brazilian stadiums and complained that construction or renovation of some of the World Cup arenas, notably the stadium in Natal, capital of Rio Grande do Norte, is running behind schedule.

Brazil "has the market, organisation and tradition required to make the World Cup a success and there is no need for confrontation or conflict with the organiser," Rebelo told the Sport TV channel.

"FIFA has legitimate interests and we respect them," he added, agreeing with Valcke on the need for Congress to quickly approve the World Cup bill.

"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," Valcke said at the end of a visit to Brazil Thursday to meet with the local organising committee.

He added that FIFA had repeatedly made it clear that it wanted authorisation for beer sales in the stadiums, and had stressed that Brazil was warned of that when it was chosen to host the 2014 World Cup.

FIFA has an agreement with its sponsor, the US-based Anheuser Busch brand Budweiser, and prohibiting beer sales would cut into the football organisation's revenues from the games.

Sale of alcoholic beverages in sports arenas has been banned in Brazil since 2003, but a bill now making its way through Congress would create an exception, allowing beer to be sold in plastic cups at World Cup matches.

Rebelo reiterated the bill must be passed in March, voicing confidence that Congress would find the necessary compromise on the beer issue.

And despite the delay regarding the Natal stadium, the minister insisted the work would be completed before the end of December 2013, the deadline set by FIFA.